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Causes of Cravings



This interesting new research is looking at how our cravings for fatty and unhealthy foods can be triggered.

By understanding how cravings work we can become better equipped to manage them



Preliminary findings from research carried out by the University of Southern California will soon be presented. Their research was looking at the idea that seeing pictures of food high in fats such as in advertising, enhanced by drinking sugary drinks can create a craving for such unhealthy foods. 

One researcher, Kathleen Page said, "Studies have shown that advertisements featuring food make us think of eating, but our research looked at how the brain responds to food cues and how that increases hunger and desire for certain foods. This stimulation of the brain's reward areas may contribute to overeating and obesity, and has important public health implications."

The research was carried out on 13 obese Hispanic women, as they have a higher tendency for obesity and Type II diabetes. 

Their response to images of high fat foods and also healthy fruit and vegetables were measured using an fMRI so that the difference in responses between the two types of food could be seen. Also halfway through the testing the women were given both glucose and fructose drinks to simulate having a fizzy drink, this was to see whether this can help to encourage the cravings.

Afterwards the participants ranked how hungry they felt for different food types on a scale of one to ten. 

Page offered these thoughts on the results, "We hypothesized that the reward areas in the women's brains would be activated when they were looking at high-calorie foods, and that did happen. What we didn't expect was that consuming the glucose and fructose would increase their hunger and desire for savory foods."

This study however does leave some things unanswered, such as if these cravings are caused by the obesity itself or are in fact genetic. Further research is required.  


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