Why do we Overeat? Exploring the Cause of Obesity

One of the reasons why so many of us are overweight and even obese is, quite simply, that we eat too much. But why do we overeat? This is a question that BBC science presenter Michael Mosley attempts to answer by looking at the science behind our satisfaction of pleasure seeking urges.

obesity problemPleasure may have different definitions, but scientifically speaking it is the temporary satisfaction or short term reward for doing what the body wants; fulfilling basic human needs such as eating and sex.

The dopamine reward system among others, impacts the pleasure circuits that control food intake.  There is a lot that we do in life because doing it results in our brains being flooded by feel-good dopamine.

This is such an important system for our eating processes; that it has been seen that if dopamine activity is blocked, animals may give up eating altogether; and even starve to death!

The fact that so many of us are overweight is due to the fact that so many of us continue to eat even after we stop getting pleasure from it; even when our brains tell us we have had enough; a signal that we tend to ignore.