Brain Offers a Clue on Why Obese People Eat More

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2008 7:10 PM CDT
An overweight person eats in London, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – New research takes an accepted truth about obese people and flips it upside down: They may, in fact, get less pleasure out of eating than people of normal weight, the LA Times reports. Researchers found that people who have weaker reward circuitry in the brain tend to overeat. Thus, while a person of average weight can eat one cookie and feel satisfied, an obese person keeps eating more to try to capture that feeling, the Times explains.

Those with a gene linked to diminished dopamine signaling had the most extreme weight gains. The study shows “an association between an abnormal response to food and future weight gain—and it shows that this relationship depends upon your genetic makeup," said one of the researchers. The findings could lead to a future behavioral or drug treatment.