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Does this explain your sugar cravings? Junk food physically rewires the brain


Does this explain your sugar cravings? Study finds junk food physically rewires the brain so it subconsciously craves more

A study suggests that eating foods high in sugar and fat rewires the brain to unconsciously prefer junk.

The study by scientists in Germany and the US measured the brain activity of a group given a high-fat, high-sugar dessert every day for two months.

They found that the brain reactions of those who received the pudding increased significantly after eight weeks, particularly by activating the region responsible for motivation and reward and releasing dopamine.

The study authors concluded that brains learn to unconsciously prefer and crave these fatty and sugary foods, even when people stop eating them.

Eating foods high in sugar and fat rewires the brain to subconsciously prefer junk snacks

The research team, from the Max Planck Institute for the Research of Metabolism in Cologne, western Germany, and Yale University, tested their hypothesis by selecting two groups of volunteers.

One group was given a small pudding containing high levels of fat and sugar every day for eight weeks, to eat alongside their normal diet.

Another control group received a daily dessert that contained exactly the same amount of calories, but less fat.

The brain activity of the volunteers in both groups was measured before and during the eight-week experiment.

The study team, led by Dr. Marc Tittgemeyer, observed that brain responses to high-sugar, high-fat foods in the group that ate the daily high-fat, high-sugar dessert increased significantly after eight weeks.

This increased activity especially activated the ‘dopaminergic’ system, which releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone, in the region of the brain responsible for motivation and reward.

Dopamine releases give us a feeling of pleasure and the motivation to do something when we feel pleasure.

Every time we do something we enjoy, like having sex, eating food we like, or exercising, small amounts of dopamine are released in our brain.

However, vices such as drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs can also trigger the release of dopamine.

Dr. Tittgemeyer explained that our brains learn to prefer foods that are high in sugar and fat due to brain activity, such as the release of dopamine, that we experience when we eat them.

He said: ‘Our measurements of brain activity showed that the brain rewires itself through the consumption of chips and co.

‘Subconsciously learn to prefer rewarding food.

“Through these changes in the brain, we will unconsciously always prefer foods that contain a lot of fat and sugar.”

Sharmili Edwin Thanarajah, another lead author of the study, added: “Our tendency to eat foods high in fat and sugar, the so-called Western diet, could be inborn or develop as a result of being overweight.”

“But we think the brain learns this preference.”

During the study, volunteers who gorged themselves on the daily high-fat, high-sugar dessert did not gain more weight than those in the control group.

Their blood values, including blood sugar and cholesterol levels, also did not change.

But Dr. Tittgemeyer and his team believe that the preference for sugary and fatty foods in the test group will continue after the end of the study, as the brain forgets that it enjoys unhealthy foods.

“New connections are created in the brain and they don’t dissolve as quickly,” says Dr. Tittgemeyers.

‘After all, the whole point of learning is that once you learn something, you don’t forget it so quickly.’

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