Why food cravings can be hard-wired
Do you wonder why sometimes, despite trying to maintain iron willpower, you still end up craving and eating things that you shouldn’t? It could be that you are addicted to certain foods.
A recent press release from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology describes a study that looked at brain function and addiction. A team of scientists from two universities: the University of Grenada (Spain) and Monash University (Australia) analysed 39 obese people and 42 normal weight people. They were given a buffet-style meal and told to help themselves.
Afterwards, they were shown photos of the food from the buffet to stimulate cravings while their brains were scanned via MRI. The MRI scans showed different brain connectivity for food cravings depending on whether the individual was normal weight or overweight.
The scientists found far greater connectivity in the areas of the brain associated with reward in the overweight. They also found in the obese individuals that their average 11% weight gain three months later, was predicted by the increased activity in the brain that registered reward. These parts of the brain are stimulated in a similar way to substance abuse.
This means that breaking bad habits such as sugary foods (and drinks) may not come easily, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. It just means that you will have to be patient with yourself and find lots of healthy alternatives to unhealthy foods that you may be hard-wired to crave.