Study shows the brain can be trained to prefer healthy foods

Study shows the brain can be trained to prefer healthy foods

Many people have a preference for junk food and the idea of eating healthy lacks appeal.  A new study from Tufts University shows that the brain can be trained to prefer healthy food over junk food.  The study reports that food addiction can be changed using a diet that does not leave people hungry.   (1)

Scientist scanned the addiction centre of the brain in men and women.  They studied the part of the brain linked to reward an addiction in 13 overweight and obese men and women.  Eight of these participants were taking part in a specially designed weight-loss program. (1)

High fiber, protein and low carbohydrate foods allowed participants to break food addiction

The study focused on changing food preferences by eating a diet high in fiber, protein and low in carbohydrates.  When brains were scanned at the end of the six month time period, those that participated in the new diet showed changes in the brains reward center. (1)

When shown different types of food, healthy food triggered action within the brain’s reward center and decreased sensitivity to junk food. (1)

The studies results showed an increase in cravings for healthy foods.  Professor Susan B. Roberts, reported, “We don’t start out in life loving French fries, this conditioning happens over time in response to eating – repeatedly – what is out there in the toxic food environment.”

Study results may allow people to achieve sustainable weight control

“There is much more research to be done here, involving many more participants, long-term follow-up and investigating more areas of the brain,” Prof Roberts said.  (1)

“Our study shows those who participated in it had an increased desire for healthier foods along with a decreased preference for unhealthy foods,” co-author Sai Krupa Das, an assistant professor at Tufts, said in the release, “the combined effects of which are probably critical for sustainable weight control.”

For those who desire to lose weight or change their diet, this information could help encourage people to push through cravings and avoid the urge to use fad diet trends that allow them to enjoy their favorite junk foods with fewer calories.

Sources for this article include:

(1) www.bbc.com

Image source: https://flic.kr/p/dbyBpQ