Stimulating brain can help you cut food cravings, unhealthy snacking

  • AFP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 24, 2016 16:55 IST
Brain stimulation was found to reduce food cravings but not overall food consumption. (Shutterstock)

Stimulating dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a region in our brains, can help us control our food cravings and unhealthy snacking habits, finds a new Canadian study.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada targeted DLPFC, which plays a role in “the conscious regulation of food craving and consumption of calorie-dense foods.”

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The researchers identified 11 lab-based studies evaluating the effects of stimulating this part of the brain on food cravings and food consumption. Their paper, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, also identified some evidence that brain stimulation specifically reduced the consumption of carbohydrates, such as cookies, cakes and soda.

However, brain stimulation was not found to reduce overall food intake. The results of nine studies focusing on total food consumption proved inconclusive.

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The researchers suggest that brain stimulation may work on the brain’s reward center and/or improve cognitive control over the thoughts and emotions that govern cravings. In fact, people with lower activity levels in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex could be more likely to succumb to food cravings and gain weight because they’re less able to control their impulses.

The researchers conclude that brain stimulation could be a useful strategy to explore in the prevention of conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

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