Foodies, beware! Eating a high quantity of fatty foods could trigger the brain’s hunger signalling awry, causing you to want more — even if you don’t need it — and gain weight, according to a recent research. To make sure you eat what you need to survive, your body’s chemistry associates eating with pleasure, but when that balance gets thrown out of whack, it results in obesity.
“We defined the why, where, and how of ‘hedonic’ obesity and found that disrupting a specific signalling pathway in the brain can lead to overeating, specifically food items that are high in fat,” says co-author Dr Kevin Niswender of Vanderbilt University in the US, emphasising on the word hedonic, which means guilty pleasures.
“Our findings reveal a system that is designed to control eating of foods that are high in fat and possibly sugar,” says co-author Dr Aurelio Galli. “This system can be hijacked by the very foods that it is designed to control.”
When signalling in parts of the brain that control eating goes awry, it leads to a vicious cycle, prompting more and more fatty-food intake that only reinforces the brain’s hunger.
Here are a few simple tips to help you control your fat addiction:
1. Make healthy fats a part of your diet: Include olive oil, avocados, oily fish such as salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel and lean meats in your daily diet. These foods help your body get instant energy. They work as long-lasting fuel that can keep you going for a long time. While they satiate your cravings for fatty food items, they also help keep those calories and maintain a healthy weight.
2. Have a filling but healthy breakfast: Never kickstart your day with drinks and food that are high on fat, sugar and salt. It will trigger cravings for similar foods throughout the day. Instead, start your morning with a bowlful of fresh berries, healthy nuts, freshly chopped fruits, baked veggies and yoghurt.
3. Guilt-proof your refrigerator: Do not overstock your refrigerator with calorific, unhealthy food and sugary, aerated drinks. Having easy access to such items will make it tough for you to resist. A slight trigger such as a bad day at work or your favourite movie on the TV, and you will end up consuming it all.
4. Don’t deprive yourself of occasional treats: No diet plan can ever be successful without a cheat day plan. It is okay to treat yourself to a small pastry or your favourite pizza once in a week.
5. Portion control: Cutting down portion sizes helps immensely in controlling food addiction. If you can’t stop piling your plate with those tempting delicacies, switch to smaller plates and bowls. That way, you will eat less by default.