Should brain training be part of a healthy diet? Children's minds use half their energy – and more mental activity can reduce obesity risk, scientists say
- At five o'clock, children's brains use almost half the energy they get from their diet
- The glucose from food that we do not use is converted into fat
- Scientists from Northwestern University and New York University think that differences in brain activity can help explain obesity risks
- If so, programs such as Head Start, which helps to introduce healthy habits and education before children go to school, can be strengthened to reduce obesity risk
Young children's brains absorb nearly half the energy they get from their calories – and keeping their mind active can help fight childhood obesity, scientists suggest.
Too often we think of the brain and body as separate entities and consider the activities of the body – exercise, walking, and so on – those who need energy.
But a 2014 study showed that the brains of five-year-olds absorb twice as much glucose – the component of food that we convert into energy – as an adult brain.
Now the same research team from Northwestern University and New York University (NYU) believes that differences in the energy that young children's brains use can play a role in their different obesity risks, according to their new research.
By keeping children's minds active, they can also continue to trim, because the brain absorbs so much energy from food, scientists suggest in a new article
Human babies grow like weeds in the womb, far beyond our cousins' cousins.
But chimp & # 39; children & # 39; grow much faster after birth, while for human children it takes much longer to reach the same size.
According to earlier Northwestern research, it is because children's brains absorb so many calories that they consume.
This is never as true as at the age of five, when two thirds of the energy that a child burns through while sitting still is devoted to feeding their brains.
Our evolution has optimized our body for brain power, but not so much for fitness.
In fact, the way we walk, the fact that we cook and even the shape and size of our intestines mean that we have a larger reserve of fat and energy for our brains to draw on, but we walk less quickly, run or fight off the excess.
All this made the Northwestern and NYU research team wonder whether differences in how active children's brains are can help explain why some become obese and others don't.
We know that genetics, diet and exercise explain many of our obesity risks, especially in the early stages of life.
But they don't explain everything.
And figuring out the missing components can be the skeleton key to ensure that children don't get fat – significantly increasing the chance of becoming fat adults with countless health risks.
So the scientists behind the new hypothesis assume that how, when and with what intensity the brain develops in children can be predictive.
It is a theory for the time being, but if further research carries it out, it can explain the differences in childhood overweight and give us a two-to-one tool to combat obesity.
While other tissues and organs use alternative sources for glucose, the brain relies almost entirely on glucose to feed it.
And especially the American diet is rich in sugar and carbohydrates, both of which convert into useful glucose in the body.
But when we eat more of these than we need for energy, fat cells act as storage tanks for the surplus, absorbing what remains.
So if the brain is more active, more of that glucose may theoretically be able to run out before fat cells arrive.
That could explain
& # 39; We believe it is plausible that increased energy consumption by the brain could be an unexpected benefit for early development programs for children, who of course have many other proven benefits, & # 39; said co-author of the study and Northwestern anthropologist, Dr. Christopher Kuzawa.
& # 39; That would be a great win-win. & # 39;
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