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Scientists have explained people's craving for harmful food

Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 30.05.2018
12 May 2017, 09:00

Scientists have tried to answer the question of why a person is prone to eating harmful food. Thus, the researchers found that the use of products with chemical additives - flavorings, preservatives and flavor enhancers - has no connection with the sensation of hunger. Blame everything - hormonal substance and neurotransmitter dopamine, which is a biochemical precursor of norepinephrine.

As shown by numerous experiments, 99% of women have a tendency to use "forbidden" food, while in men this figure is equivalent to 70%.

Most of us eat the desired product if they feel the inner need. And this is the logic: the desire to eat something definite stimulates the production of the dopamine hormone and activates the opioid receptors located in the brain. This forces a person to eat a harmful product under any circumstances.

In a certain sense, the craving for "harm" can be called a dependency. For example, an avid coffee lover simply can not get down to work without first using a few cups of coveted drink. The same thing happens with food products: a man gets used to a certain combination of flavors, to the flavor of food, etc. Such a dependence has not yet been fully investigated by scientists, but most likely, it can be caused by a number of physical, psychological and other factors:

  • Lack of glucose, sodium and some trace elements in the body.
  • Association of reception of a foodstuff with pleasure, good mood, harmony, sensation of full satisfaction.
  • Frequent use of harmful product, which leads to the development of a specific set of enzymes. Later, these enzymes begin to be produced independently, "demanding" the supply of familiar food.
  • Reduced serotonin level - a neurotransmitter, which, in particular, is responsible for controlling appetite. Women can observe the drop in serotonin levels before the first days of the new monthly cycle.
  • Frequent stressful situations, depressive conditions - all these factors cause unhealthy attraction to "bad" foods.

Specialists have proved that dopamine programs the human brain to perform the same action in order to achieve the desired. That's why it's so hard for us to resist the temptation of delicious, albeit harmful, food. Scientists compare harmful foods with narcotic substances that enhance dopamine production. With the use of the forbidden product, the body receives a powerful hormone release, which, in turn, sends response signals to certain parts of the brain to find the next dosage of the drug, in this case, a food product.

Professor Anthony Sklafani studied for three decades the reasons for the person's "love" for "wrong" food. As a result of numerous experiments, the scientist concluded: the longer we consume certain foods, the harder it is for us to give them up.

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