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Can the brain be trained to eat healthily ?


Posted on Wednesday, 3 September, 2014 | Comment icon 16 comments

A good diet is an important factor in maintaining health. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Matt MacGillivray
A new US study has suggested that the brain can be retrained to prefer healthy food over junk food.
In a new effort to improve the nation's diets, scientists at Tufts University scanned the addiction centers in the brains of a group of volunteers to identify the cravings associated with unhealthy food.

"We don't start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, wholewheat pasta," said senior author and behavioral nutritionist Prof Susan B Roberts. "This conditioning happens over time in response to eating - repeatedly - what is out there in the toxic food environment."

As part of the study a number of participants were given a replacement diet that was high in fiber and protein while also being low in carbohydrates. One of the key factors during the trial was to prevent the volunteers from becoming hungry because it is believed to be hunger that tends to drive the cravings for unhealthy foodstuffs.

Using MRI brain scans to monitor their progress the researchers were able to successfully reverse the cravings in the study's participants so that by the end of the process they were actually craving the healthy food items instead of the unhealthy ones.

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

Source: BBC News | Comments (16)

Tags: Brain, Food, Diet

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by ouija ouija on 2 September, 2014, 19:29
My problem with not eating healthier is that I know I need more veggies and I don't really enjoy the thought of a lot of vegetables most people like. Normal people anway.... Just eat the ones you do like. A lot of just one or two veggies would be better than nothing. Once you get used to eating a greater volume of them you might find you actually want to try some others . I actually eat a lot of tinned ones which isn't nearly as good as fresh(obviousy!), but is better than nothing.
Comment icon #8 Posted by FollowTheTrail on 2 September, 2014, 19:44
I could never imagine myself eating only fruits and vegetables. I do like them, but high-calorie foods are always a temptation, that i'll never give up enjoying!
Comment icon #9 Posted by ouija ouija on 2 September, 2014, 20:32
I could never imagine myself eating only fruits and vegetables. I do like them, but high-calorie foods are always a temptation, that i'll never give up enjoying! Well if you are lucky enough not to put on weight, go for it! I know I would.
Comment icon #10 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: on 3 September, 2014, 11:32
I'll be all set if my brain can tell my tastebuds that everything tastes great. Haha.
Comment icon #11 Posted by FollowTheTrail on 3 September, 2014, 12:37
Well if you are lucky enough not to put on weight, go for it! I know I would. IMO exercising is more important than just not eating a specific kind of food. If someone exercises, then i don't think it's bad to eat a high-calorie food every now and then. The whole point lies in the fact that junk food is not the kind of food that should be consumed in a daily basis!
Comment icon #12 Posted by Alas_113 on 3 September, 2014, 15:48
I could never imagine myself eating only fruits and vegetables. Like a guinea pig, lol!
Comment icon #13 Posted by Kaikou on 3 September, 2014, 16:03
It's sad that it took research for them to find this out. I remember giving up junk food and sugar up a few years ago. Afterwards I couldn't touch chocolate or even a can of coke without wanting to be sick and I stopped getting ill!
Comment icon #14 Posted by ROGER on 4 September, 2014, 6:39
I'll get on that brain retraining thing in a week or so .
Comment icon #15 Posted by FollowTheTrail on 4 September, 2014, 12:41
Like a guinea pig, lol! well....um...sort of :P
Comment icon #16 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot on 4 September, 2014, 12:56
Trained? Nah. But it can be forced to anything. I remember those 'icar' days...


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