Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Men are more likely than women to be able to resist a plate full of tempting treats
In an experiment, a group of 23 volunteers were asked to try to suppress their hunger. The men seemed to do better and brain scans later revealed they had far less activity than the women in a part of the brain linked to desire for food. The researchers say this ability to "switch off" thoughts of food may explain lower rates of obesity in men. The complex mechanisms which control how much we eat are not fully understood. In the experiment, chronicled in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the volunteers did not eat for a day and were then asked to suppress all thoughts of food. When questioned further, the male participants reported fewer hunger pangs and fewer cravings for food. In Britain, rates of obesity are similar in men and women - but women are around three times more likely to be morbidly obese (a body mass index of above 40).