Eating foods high in fat & sugar rewires the brain

Got a craving for junk food? You know…chocolate, sweet treats, potato chips, salty French fries.

This ever happen? You munch your way through some snacks, and now you want more. And every time you see Salty and Sweet at the store, buffet, or dinner table, you practically start salivating.

You’re not alone. The average adult in the U.S. annually consumes an average of:

    • 12 pounds of chocolate
    • 30 pounds of French fries
    • 16 full-size bags of potato chips
    • 39 gallons of sugary drinks

Your brain & the ‘delicious’ pudding test

Here’s the thing. Eating foods high in fat and sugar, even in small amounts, can rewire your brain…fast, according to a recent study.1

    • In the study, people ate pudding high in fat and sugar for eight weeks, and researchers measured brain activity.
    • They found that eating the “delicious” pudding altered areas of the brain responsible for motivation and reward.

“Our measurements of brain activity showed that the brain……subconsciously learns to prefer rewarding food,” says lead researcher Dr. Marc Tittgemeyer.

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

Eating junk food may also increase your risk for:2

    • Obesity
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Poor sleep
    • Fatigue
    • High blood pressure
    • Stroke
    • Poor digestion

Before you munch your way through more junk food, try something different.

Think you’re hungry? Drink a glass of water. Eat a healthy snack. Go for a walk. Distract yourself with an activity other than eating for a few minutes. Then decide if you’re hungry.

Sources

1. Thanarajah, S.E., et al. (2023). Habitual daily intake of a sweet and fatty snack modulates reward processing in humans. Cell Metabolism, 36(4): 571-584.E6. From: https://tinyurl.com/5n75kpcc

2. Jia, S.S., et al. (2022). The impacts of junk food on health. Frontiers for Young Minds, 10:694523. From: https://kids.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frym.2022.694523

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