Could An Unhealthy Diet Change Your Brain?
Ever wonder why eating fatty and sugary foods makes you crave more of them? A recent study from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research sheds some light. Researchers there randomly asked 57 healthy weight participants to add either a high-fat, high-sugar yogurt or a low-fat, low-sugar yogurt to their usual diet twice daily.
After eight weeks, the volunteers’ weight remained largely unchanged. However, those who had consumed the high-fat, high-sugar yogurt had much less desire to eat low-fat foods than those who had consumed the low-fat, low-sugar yogurt. The high-fat, high-sugar group also had increased responses in the brain’s reward centers when anticipating other fatty, sugary fare such as milkshakes and consuming them.
“The most important take-home message is that diet alone can rewire brain circuits in such a way that could promote overeating,” says the study’s lead researcher. “You can be born with no genetic risk for obesity but then acquire risk by eating foods high in fat and sugar – like processed foods.”
Try this recipe: Strawberry, Fennel, And Arugula Salad
Sign up for more Dr. Weil newsletters: