Appetite can be controlled by learned behavior mixed with a little motivation

Cupcakes on the brain

Do you have trouble saying “NO” to cupcakes, muffins, French fries, and other such treats?

Why is it so hard to fight the internal urge to grab and gulp? Scientists have spent years trying to figure out what’s going on.

And just a couple of weeks ago, I told you how researchers found that ice cream could be as addictive as illegal drugs.

It’s become clear, the brain is the control center for food intake–fielding the external “there it is” and internal “gotta have it” cues that lead us to overeat.

As we know, there’s that definite feeling of reward that’s hard to resist. Scientists have discovered that the brain has regions dedicated to appetite–and that appetite can be controlled by learned behavior mixed with a little motivation.

But it’s a complex relationship that they are still trying to understand.

One scientist at McGill University in Toronto has analyzed numerous MRI scans of brain and neuron activity, to study exactly how a person’s brain reacts when certain types of foods are nearby (or eaten).

He found an interesting pattern. Overweight and obese people had stronger brain signals when they saw sweet or fatty foods–a sure motivator to eat.

In fact, obese people may be more vulnerable because their brain has a stronger influence on what they eat, when they eat, and how much they eat.

“Obesity is a neurobehavioral problem, a disease that results from a vulnerable brain in an unhealthy environment,” says the study’s lead author, Alain Dagher, PhD, of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in Toronto.

What’s the message for you?  It’s true, you’re fighting an internal battle every day. But it’s still about making the right choice.

You can choose to “reward” your brain with healthy foods that are enjoyable. That’s what the New Hamptons Miracle is all about–indulging in the good stuff. And as an added bonus, you’ll get to savor the good feelings you’ll have from knowing you’re making great choices.