News article

Blame your brain for high caloric food choices

Posted:  Tuesday, October 28, 2014

That persistent urge to indulge in a slice of pizza or an ice cream could be easily blamed on the taste buds. However, a recent study implicates the brain in making such high caloric decisions for you. Canadian researchers have found that a particular part of the brain decides the foods to be consumed based on their calorific value.

Published in the journal Psychological Science, the study involved taking brain scans of healthy participants who were asked to examine pictures of various foods. They were told to rate foods they would like to consume and estimate the calorie content of each food.

Quite surprisingly, the participants displayed poor judgement in accurately estimating the calories present in a food, but their choices and their willingness to pay still centered on those foods that had higher caloric content.

Apparently, a brain region called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is involved in making decisions about the foods to be consumed and their caloric values. It does so by encoding the value of stimuli and predicting immediate consumption.

“Earlier studies found that children and adults tend to choose high-calorie food. Their consumption is largely governed by the anticipated effects of these foods, which are likely learned through experience. Our study sought to determine how people's awareness of caloric content influenced the brain areas known to be implicated in evaluating food options. We found that brain activity tracked the true caloric content of foods," said the researchers.

A rapidly rising health problem, obesity, has been a matter of grave concern not just for individuals but for governments as well. Having identified the decision-making mechanisms behind food consumption, it may be possible to modify and control the factors that propel people towards obesity. For now, when choosing foods, always keep heart health in mind before blindly giving in to the choice made by the brain!

For study details:-Click Here!