We’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating: there are very good reasons why we like bad foods and why we can’t stop eating them. Understanding brain activities here doesn’t just excite the neuroscience nerds and fitness junkies. More importantly, though, understanding the process of how terrible foods affect us will teach us about ourselves and about those with whom many of us have difficulty empathizing.
This article on Medium by Taylor Mitchel Brown does a great job of balancing the science and the effects. Here’s a couple of salient points:
“Terrible foods work their magic by manipulating these hunger and satiety systems; they trigger the release of hunger hormones while simultaneously weakening satiety signals. The result — as our plight with Oreos, ice cream, fast food, and the like shows — is that we eat well beyond what we should.”
“Another possible explanation is early exposure. When rats and mice are given high-fat foods at a young age, for instance, they show an increased affinity for those foods in adulthood over all their little rat and mice friends. This change persists throughout the lifetime.”
This last point is particularly striking because it indicates children are most susceptible to developing bad eating habits. Understanding how our metabolism works will help us be more mindful with the foods we not only feed ourselves but also with what we feed our children.