Fatty foods instigate autopilot eating

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • If you're a lifestyle coach like me, then you hear an amazing variety of reasons from clients that suggest why they cannot lose weight:

    • I was "good" for awhile and then fell apart
    • I thought I could eat just one and the next thing I know I "ate the whole thing"
    • I am counting calories and exercising but I am still gaining weight "for some reason"
    • I am addicted to food

    It's the last one that seems to suggest that even if we do have willpower, something seems to be making certain foods drug-like in their impact on our eating profiles,defying our willpower. Fatty snacks in particular seem to be the devil in disguise when it comes to portion control. Several recent studies suggest that certain foods can set off a chemical reaction in the body and brain, that sets up a compulsion to eat more and more of the food, even beyond a feeling of fullness. And certain individuals may be significantly more susceptible to this feeding frenzy behavior.

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    One study looked at how the taste of certain foods, impact the body's response to the food. Liquid foods high in fat, high in sugar, and high in protein were prepared and presented to rats. By and far it was the fatty beverage that elicited a striking reaction. As soon as the beverage was traced to the digestive tract, endocannabinoids, or chemicals similar to those produced by marijuana, were released. The chemicals modulate mood and stress response as well as appetite, and the pace at which food moves through the digestive tract. Accepting that there is an evolutionary drive to recognize and eat fat, consuming it on a regular basis may be fueling a desire to eat more and more of it. And in modern day America, there is ready availability of these foods as well as affordability.  Researchers hope to harness this information to create drugs that block the effect of fatty foods, giving control to the patient who is especially drawn to eating these foods.

     

    The conclusion of the study is that we don't just like these fatty foods. These foods may be sending powerful signals to our bodies and brains to want more and to eat more. Of course, there are many powerful agents in the world that also send us tempting messages and we learn to control our impulses. So experts say once we understand the physiology of fatty foods, we simply need to be more vigilant about how we introduce them into our day-to-day diet.

Published On: December 06, 2011