Your brain on carbohydrates and fat? It's in love
Pizza? Doughnuts? They satisfy the brain's reward center like nothing else.
Then, they were asked to estimate how many calories and how much they'd pay for it.
"Surprisingly, foods containing fats and carbohydrates appear to signal their potential caloric loads to the brain via distinct mechanisms. Our participants were very accurate at estimating calories from fat and very poor at estimating calories from carbohydrate," explained Dana Small, director of the Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center at Yale University.
The kicker? People would also pay more money for the foods containing both fat and carbs. Oh, and it's very hard to stop eating them once you start.
The key is in the reward center of the brain; these foods can light that right up, and release dopamine, the hormone that says, "Wow. I love this."
With further study, it's possible for scientists to figure out how to turn off that reward center, at least to a certain extent; as it is now, eating those foods tends to hit the reward center of the brain so much that it's very hard for us to stop eating when we start. It's not the same as other foods—in fact, it's not all that recent that these foods were created, so they calculate that the brain doesn't really know how to handle them. Before those foods were invented, humans didn't have these kinds of options nearly as much as we do today.
The study also discovered that the brain can handle either carbs or fat, but not both at the same time; when presented with such an option, it doesn't know quite how to respond.
So... bring on the donuts?
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A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.
- Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
- When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
- Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.
- A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
- Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
- The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
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