New research shows that foods with high fat and sugar content changes our brains. Even when we regularly eat small amounts of them, our brains learn to consume these foods in the future. To test this hypothesis, a group of volunteers were given a pudding containing lots of fat and sugar every day for eight weeks on top of their normal diet. 

Another group was given a pudding with the same number of calories but less fat. The brain’s response was greatly increased in the group that ate the high-sugar and high-fat pudding. This particularly activated the dopaminergic system – the region in the brain responsible for motivation and reward. Measurements of brain activity showed that the brain rewires itself through the consumption of chips and chocolate, subconsciously learning to prefer rewarding food. 

The results of this research may help to explain why people develop issues with habituation to food  making it difficult to resist certain foods high in fat and sugar, even when we know they are unhealthy. Of couse junk food companies already kow this and use it to their advantage in formulating their products.

The implications of this study extend beyond just our eating habits. The dopaminergic system, which is activated by rewarding experiences such as eating tasty food, is also activated in other addictive behaviors such as drug use, scolling social media for likes and gambling. This suggests that the brain’s response to high-fat and high-sugar foods may be similar to its response to other addictive substances or behaviors.

The study also highlights the importance of healthy eating habits, especially during childhood when the brain is still developing. If children regularly consume these ultra processed foods, their brains may become conditioned to crave these types of foods, making it more difficult for them to choose healthy eating habits in the future. We need to promote healthy eating habits early in life, eating real food in a balanced diet and saving sugary treats for specal occasions to help prevent health problems later in life.



I discussed this topic on Triple M radio, you can listen here:


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