It is well-known people’s desire to have a normal body weight, but there are countries like Australia where few people really achieve this. Recent studies show why some people find it so hard to abstain from certain foods and thus become overweight or obese. In fact, losing weight is not a complex process because the only thing you have to do is to reduce the amount of calories you consume. However, many people fail to lose weight and continue to eat excessively, being driven by a constant temptation.
Some people probably argue that maintaining a normal body weight should be a personal choice, but we must not forget another aspect, namely the wide availability of processed foods and the food temptation that some simply cannot control. This inability to control this temptation has led researchers to test if there are certain foods that lead to addiction. Although there are some who say that eating cannot lead to addiction because eating is essential for life, many people eat for reasons other than to fulfill the daily nutritional needs. For example, many overeat due to stress or due to frustration.
The researchers wanted to know if this eating behavior is stimulated by certain processed foods, particularly those with high glycemic index. Foods with high glycemic index, such as are drinks with lots of sugar or refined starches, lead to rapid growth and a decrease in blood glucose. A meal with a high glycemic index foods disrupts the body’s metabolism so that glucose in the blood falls in a few hours leading to hunger and overeating. Conversely, low glycemic index foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains cause a small change in blood glucose levels and a feeling of fullness for a longer time.
Researchers focused to find out why highly-processed carbohydrates cause excessive eating and if the particular taste of these foods contribute to this. Therefore, they have created two types of milkshakes with the same same number of calories, macronutrients and taste, one with a high glycemic index and the other with low glycemic index. They then gave the milkshakes to 12 overweight men, on different days. Those who consumed the milkshake with high glycemic index were hungrier than those who consumed the milkshake with low glycemic index.
Researchers discovered, after they performed functional MRI imaging on all 12 participants, that nucleus accumbens, a brain region involved in eating pleasure, reward and craving, had an intense activity, which supports the idea that certain foods can lead to addiction.