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Dec 20, 2013

Irresistible Reasons for Food Cravings

The thought of enjoying an ice cold, creamy chocolate milkshake on a hot summer's day would make anyone’s mouth water. That’s the same sensation our brain feels every time we consume sugar.



When we consume foods containing fat and sugar the part of our brain associated with award systems becomes active making us crave more. In a recent study conducted on over 100 healthy high school students funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), brain activity while drinking chocolate milkshakes was recorded. The milkshakes were identical to each other yet had different amounts of sugar and fat content in them. The researchers initially hypothesized the first group consuming high fat-low sugar content milkshakes would affect their brain rewards systems more than the second group consuming milkshakes of low fat-high sugar content. 

The researchers were surprised to find out that the milkshakes higher in sugar actually increased reactions in the reward center of the brain most responsible for compulsive eating. Conclusions suggest that when sugar was consumed, more sugar was craved.  In contrast to conventional American’s diets which include higher levels of sugar than fats, the study concluded that a diet higher in fat than sugar resulted in lower levels of reward center activity in the brain.

With rising levels of obesity within the United States, this knowledge can be used to better suit dietary recommendations, knowing that against any amount of willpower, sugar may win, and to avoid it more so than fat.


For more information please visit:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24132980