Apparently, there’s a reason why we love pizza and ice cream and other unhealthy foods so much. It’s because our brain seems like it receives a reward if we eat unhealthy food – found the combination of carbohydrates and fats that can be found in only one single food seems to make the brain feel like it’s a rewarding experience.
The study also showed that the food becomes more reinforcing when the signals are combined, as said by Dana Small, who is a professor of psychiatry at Yale. She was also one of the authors of this study, that was published in the journal Cell Metabolism on Thursday.
About the study
To test this theory, the researchers gave the participants food that can be categorized into 3: fats, carbs and a combination of the two. They had to pay for the food in an exercise that can be compared to an actual auction – they all had their brain scanned with the help of functional magnetic resonance imaging (or fMRI for short).
The results showed that those who participated wanted to pay more for the foods that had both fats and carbs, a thing that was shown in stimulated activity in the brain’s dorsal striatum and mediodorsal thalamus – areas that has to do with rewards. It’s actually very good for our health, but it can lead us to more and more foods. We could eat a lot more than we actually should.
The study also showed that food which is high in carbohydrates and fats don’t really exist in nature. The exception is breast milk. Research has shown that breast milk has about 3.5% fat and 7% carbohydrate. Our standard processed snack foods have somewhere about to 24% fat and 57% carbohydrates.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.