Now we know why diets are difficult: Even if low-calorie food tastes better than junk the brain is still turned off






The brain prefers high-calorie foods even if they taste worse than the low-calorie alternatives, according to new research.

Scientists at Yale University found that calorie-dense foods cause greater responses in the brain than lower calorie foods.

Interestingly, they also discovered that this applies even if the calorie-free food tastes nicer.





Cake v cucumber: Foods which are high in calories cause greater responses in the brain than lower energy foods

Cake v cucumber: Foods which are high in calories cause greater responses in the brain than lower energy foods


Popular Science reported that the researchers discovered that there are two different brain circuits that fire when people eat.

One
of the circuits relates to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, while
the other one responds based on whether or not we think the food tastes
nice.


Dana Small, a Yale University psychologist, told Popular Science: ‘The thing the brain really cares about are the calories.’



The team asked a group of
volunteers to try a range of artificially flavoured drinks some of which
contained calories and others of which were calorie-free.


Over
a period of three weeks, they found that the group grew to prefer the
one with calories even thought they could not taste the added calories.


The
researchers looked at MRI scans of the volunteers’ brains as they tried
the different drinks to try and establish why this happens.






The study found that people prefer high-calorie foods even if they do not know that they contain more calories because the brain detects the sugar content of it

The study found that people prefer high-calorie
foods even if they do not know that they contain more calories because
the brain detects the sugar content of it


The scans revealed that people’s
brain reactions to the drinks were greatest when their blood sugar
levels were highest – this brain reaction gives a sense of satisfaction
from the food.


In contrast, the brain response was not linked to how much people enjoyed each of the drinks.

Therefore,
Ms Small believes that some people who overeat may do so, not because
they prefer high-calories foods, but because their blood sugar levels
react more strongly than other people’s do.





  1. 2013/05/09(木) 17:10:55|
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