The Chart

We all know that what you eat can change your physical appearance. It also alters how your body functions, making it more or less difficult to pump blood, grow healthy bones or process insulin.

New research presented this week at the Neuroscience 2012 conference suggests that what you eat can even alter your brain – and vice versa.

Timothy Verstynen and his colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe the brain activity in 29 adults. The study participants were shown words on a screen in various colors and asked to identify the color, not the word. Sometimes it was easy – the word red printed in red; other times it was harder, like seeing the word red printed in blue.

The overweight and obese participants’ brains showed more activity during difficult questions, suggesting they were working harder to get the same answers.

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