Our Brains' Wiring Is The Culprit Behind Our Cravings For Sweet And Calorie-Dense Foods
Apr 11, 2016 07:53 AM EDT | By Mark Jason Alcala
It's finally backed by science. According to a recent study, our poor food choices are due to how our brains are wired.
Some vertebrates, when given the option between eating food with high calories but with an unpleasant taste and eating a more delicious food that does not have calories, would actually choose the calorie-dense option. This, according to scientists, shows that some animals are wired for survival which made them choose the energy-giving though unpalatable food, Science Daily reported.
This is the conclusion of the study done by Yale University researchers who collaborated with researchers from the University of Sao Paulo's Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) and the Federal University of the ABC's Center for Mathematics, Computation & Cognition (CMCC-UFABC) also based in Brazil.
Experimenting with mice, the scientists found that both the pleasure path (triggered by eating sweets and other palatable foods) and the calorie path (which is triggered by the nutritional and caloric content of the food eaten) are found in the neural circuits in the striatum, a subcortical part of the forebrain.
However, there is a distinction between the two neural pathways according to Tatiana Lima Ferreira, a CMCC-UFABC researcher responsible for the study. The neural circuit activated with the sensation of pleasure or reward is located in the ventral striatum while dorsal striatum circuits are activated by the nutritional or caloric value of the food.
The researchers were able to determine which circuit is activated by determining where dopamine is released. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by dopaminergic neurons during pleasurable activity like food, sex and drugs according to a News Medical article. This was the first study to map the distinction of neural pathways involved in food palatability and food calorie content.
Researchers designed experiments using sweet substances that contain and do not contain calories. Using solutions containing sugar and solutions with the non-caloric sweetener sucralose, scientists observed that the ventral striatum released dopamine in mice given with either solution, indicating that this reward or pleasure path is purely based on taste or palatability alone.
To detect for the neural circuit responsible for caloric content, researcher altered the sweetener's taste by adding the bitter denatonium benzoate while the mice also received intragastric sugar infusion. Researchers noted a reduced dopamine release in the ventral striatum this time but the dorsal striatum dopamine increased.
This is perhaps the reason why today's fast food is such a hit among today's population. They combine both the high palatability our pleasure and reward circuit in the ventral striatum is craving for as well as answers to the pure caloric seeking of the dorsal striatum.
So the next time you find yourself unmindfully munching into that upsized fries and soda, don't feel too guilty. It's all in the brain.
There are so many ways we can experience exposure to harmful poisons, and in many cases, we may not realize it's happening. From household cleaners and similar products to children's toys, there are often toxins and poisonous products and ingredients lurking in even the most unsuspecting of places.
All pro level athletes know about the dedication needed to not just accomplish their goals, but to achieve even bigger targets in their lives. It's also a commonly known fact that fitness and exercise alone cannot get them there. Putting the right food into their bodies is equally important.
Asian nourishment all in all is substantially more sound than Western cooking. With the absence of dairy fat and added substances, alongside an emphasis on zingy season and crisp fixings, it's anything but difficult to discover solid alternatives on any Asian-propelled menu.
Tired of the conventional three-course meals at wedding receptions? Want something different? Give the menu a twist with our trendy wedding food ideas.
The United Kingdom, which is considered one of the most interesting places in the world. Mainly due to the versatility of its existence and the Union of the countries involved in the empire.
Traveling to new cities is always an exciting adventure. One of the best ways to see a city and try local food is by visiting famous night markets. Night markets are always bustling and full of locals and foreigners trying the delights.