Daily Dispatch

Why dieters are thwarted by the science of losing weight


Dieting is hard because weight loss sets off an evolutiona­ry “red flag” in the brain that triggers hunger cravings, a Cambridge University geneticist says.

Giles Yeo said losing weight was meant to be difficult because humans were hardwired to maintain a constant size for the best chance of survival.

Some people find it harder to diet because their genes cause their brain to underestim­ate body weight from signals released by fat cells, causing the body to make hunger hormones. “Losing weight ain’t easy, and it isn’t meant to be,” said Yeo. “It doesn’t matter how skinny you are, your brain perceives weightloss as a big red flag, a decrease in your chances of survival.”

The only way for people to lose weight was to burn more energy than they eat to lose weight. No foods should be off-limits, Yeo said, unless there was a clinical reason not to eat them.

Instead, he suggested eating a little of everything.

“People have removed all kinds of stuff from their diet . . . They are now naming things glutenfree which never had gluten to begin with.” He also said gluten or milk were fine for 95% of white Europeans, as the human body had mutated about 7,500 years, ago after the birth of agricultur­e and animal domesticat­ion, allowing the digestion of lactose in adulthood.

Your brain perceives weight-loss as a big red flag, a decrease in the chances of survival

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