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Food cravings are a powerful pull for people who are trying to lose weight. “About 90% of women and 50% of men experience uncontrollable urges to eat particular foods several times a month, and they usually end up giving in” notes Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., author of The Instinct Diet. A new study shows that giving into food cravings is not just a loss of willpower associated with emotional eating, as previous studies have shown. Instead, giving into a food craving is a biological response to brain activity.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the study found that clinically obese subjects were less likely to show activity in the impulse control area of the brain when shown photos of fattening foods compared to moderate weight people. This is the same response that happens in all people when blood sugar levels are low. In the study, the obese subjects had normal blood sugar, but still responded to cravings as though they had low blood sugar.
“I think there essentially may be biological reasons why people can’t necessarily control their desire for food,” said Robert Sherwin of Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut, who worked on the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Studies that have linked food craving control to emotional eating used questionnaires rather than brain imaging. This new study is a landmark in the way that we should approach controlling cravings.
Have you ever had to battle with uncontrollable food cravings? Did you give in?
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