Not sure they needed to do brain scans to prove that seeing images of sugary treats makes us want them. Never-the-less the scientists did and they showed just how much we love our desserts and what power they hold over us.
According to Linda Carroll at MSNBC.com, the researchers had women look at images of sugary treats like cookies, cupcakes, and cake while being scanned. The brain scans showed that the regions of the brain that deal with hunger and reward lit up. This study had very similar findings as a previous study involving cocaine addicts. When the addicts were shown images of drug needles the same portion of the brain lit up. Wow, sugar and cocaine pack some serious power in our bodies. All of these findings were discussed at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.
Exposure to these types of images are everywhere and if our brains are so strongly reactionary we could have one more reason for the obesity issue. However, it seems crazy that we can’t overcome the urges. According to Dr. Kathleen Page, the studies show whether we can overcome the urges doesn’t matter because research shows we’re giving in.
Dr. Page is a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California and she explained how these responses could actually be a public health issue. Dr. Page explained to MSNBC that behavioral studies have proven that the more children see ads for sugary foods, the more they eat. We’re not sure who’s letting that happen, but it’s happening. Disney has taken a huge step and plans to end all junk food ads during children’s programming by 2015.
I’m assuming the human race has reacted to delicious foods since the dawn of time. However, the sugary foods that render a similar response in our brains as addictive drugs weren’t always so easy to obtain. They were special, made from scratch, and not oversized. If that were our only option for satisfying our cravings, we probably wouldn’t give in so frequently. However, truth is, it’s much easier and cheaper to buy sugary treats than it is to even buy apples. Not so sure it’s our brains leading us into temptation, it’s our society.
Fight the power sugar has over us. Don’t keep sweets in the house. If you see them on the menu, share one with the entire table. And if you just have to have cookies after you saw a chocolate chip commercial, make them yourself and freeze most of them. We are stronger than this; we’re going to have to be.
July 2nd, 2012