Brain values foods loaded with fats and carbs

18 Juin, 2018, 15:27 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Brain values foods loaded with fats and carbs

If we eat them separately, the brain shows less interest in the food. Not only did the fatty-carby foods elicit a greater response in the brain's reward centre, participants also reported that they were willing to spend more money on those particular treats. A new study by Yale University in the U.S. shows that the human brain values foods that are high in both fat and carbohydrates, rather than just fat or carbohydrates. Such carb and fats rich foods have a stronger impact on the reward system of our brain.

The Yale University finding sheds light on how the processed food industry cashes in on the human craving for unhealthy diets.

Fats and carbs tend to hijack the body's inborn signals governing food consumption.

"The biological process that regulates the association of foods with their nutritional value evolved to carefully define the value of a food so that organisms can make adaptive decisions". "Our study shows that when both nutrients are combined, the brain seems to overestimate the energetic value of the food", Small added.

Let's say that a mouse sees some food, but it doesn't provide energy.

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It could help explain brain-body mechanisms underlying the genetic predisposition for obesity, eating in the absence of hunger and difficulty losing or keeping off excess pounds. Participants of the study were shown photos of familiar snacks that contained fat, snacks with sugar and snacks that had fat and carbs.

When humans were hunter-gatherers, we mainly ate plants and animal meat and rarely encountered foods high in fat and carbohydrates, the authors of the study noted.

Scientists believe our past experience with the nutritive properties of carbohydrates releases the feelgood chemical dopamine in the brain through an as-yet-unknown metabolic signal.

"One mechanism by which the modern food environment may promote overeating is by combining fat and carbohydrate to potentiate reward and therefore facilitate the transition to habitual responding as is observed in drugs of abuse".

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