If you've ever been on a diet that lasted more than two weeks you know that eventually the cravings for the wrong type of food for your body will subside. They are replaced by cravings for healthy food. The problem is - how long will that last before the brain reverts back to its old patterns?
Brain can be trained to prefer healthy food BBC - September 2, 2014
The brain can be trained to prefer healthy food over unhealthy high-calorie foods, using a diet which does not leave people hungry, suggests a study from the US. Scientists from say food addictions can be changed in this way even if they are well-established.
They scanned the addiction center in the brains of a small group of men and women. We don't start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta. The results showed increased cravings for healthy lower-calorie foods. This conditioning happens over time in response to eating - repeatedly - what is out there in the toxic food environment.
Scientists know that once people are addicted to unhealthy foods, it is usually very hard to change their eating habits and get them to lose weight. New suggests the brain can learn to like healthy foods. They studied the part of the brain linked to reward and addiction in 13 overweight and obese men and women, eight of whom were taking part in a specially designed weight-loss program.
This focused on changing food preferences by prescribing a diet high in fibre and protein, and low in carbohydrates, but which did not allow participants to become hungry because this is when food cravings take over and unhealthy food becomes attractive.
The other five adults were not part of the weight-loss program. When their brains were scanned using MRI at the start and end of a six-month period, those following the program showed changes in the brain's reward center. When participants were shown pictures of different types of food, it was the healthy, low-calorie foods which produced an increased reaction. The study said this indicated an increased reward and enjoyment of healthier food. The brain's reward centre also showed decreased sensitivity to the unhealthy, higher-calorie foods.
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