Your brain is making you fat

Pax Arcana

This article in the Boston Globe explores the growing body of research that indicates that while our tummies call out for yummies on occasion, it’s our brains that demand to be fed. In fact, our brains may far more influence over our eating habits than any of us admit:

Consider, for example, a study published this summer that found that ghrelin, a hormone released when your stomach is empty and growling, may help stave off depression. Researchers found that underfed mice with higher levels of the hormone showed fewer signs of depression and anxiety than well-fed counterparts, swimming longer when plunged into water and seeming more adventurous in a maze.

sadmickey
Mickey: “I’m so stuffed with cheese and cotton candy that this maze just seems like such a bummer.”

minnie_mouse
Minnie: “Oh, Mickey. I wish we could go in a time machine back to the old days, when everything was fresh and new and we had to scrounge around the studio lot just for something to eat.”

fievel
Fievel: “Hey Minnie, I haven’t eaten in two days. And I found an awesome nook buried deep in the maze. How about we get you out of that dress and make some mouseketeers?”

A paper published last month in the journal Science suggests some people may overeat because their brains simply don’t get as much pleasure out of food – a chocolate milkshake, to be specific – so they keep eating in an attempt to feel satisfied.

That’s why I cut out the middle man and pour the milkshake directly on my brain.

And a study published last week in the Journal of Neuroscience found that when a mother rat ate a fatty diet, her babies’ brains were wired with neurons that produce molecules that stimulate their appetite.

Also, they watch a lot of NASCAR.

Earlier this year, a study in the journal Neuron found that mice that were robbed of their sweet tooth – stripped of the very ability to taste sweetness – still preferred sipping sweet, calorie-laden drinks. Certain mouse brain pathways usually associated with tasting something scrumptious were activated when they consumed the sugary drink, even though they couldn’t taste it.

Again — pour directly on brain for best results.

But the studies aren’t just about overeating; the brain can also be tricked by marketing. A study by California researchers published earlier this year, for example, found that the brains of people who sipped what they were told was expensive wine showed a higher pleasure response than in people who sipped the same wine when it was described as a common variety. The subjects, whose responses were measured in scanners that monitored their brains, also said the pricey wine tasted better.

It’s Donald Trump’s tacky, ugly world. We just overpay for crap.

The results dovetail with other mind-over-mouth studies and gustatory illusions: Amping up the crunch of potato chips tricks us into rating them as crispier, one study showed.

Calling apple juice a soup and serving it in a bowl makes it more filling than the same portion served in a cup. Dyeing a food a particular color can make it taste different.

Green milkshake poured directly on brain = just like spinach.

I shouldn’t try to post when I’m hungry like this.

To tame the belly, manage the brain [Boston.com]

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1 Comment

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One response to “Your brain is making you fat

  1. Pingback: Nice halo, fatty «

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