Why we love to overeat

Why do we eat without hunger? We prefer meat, although we understand that it would be wiser to eat the fish? All the fault of weak will? No. On our appetite most strongly affected by factors of which we are not aware of.

Always hungry

The most important role is played by hormones of the gastrointestinal tract. “These hormones, especially ghrelin and leptin, control mechanism for sensations of satiety and hunger,” explains the Professor of the Warsaw medical University małgorzata kozlowska-Wojciechowska (Małgorzata Kozłowska-Wojciechowska). Ghrelin produced in the stomach, signals hunger, quickly reaching the brain. In turn, when we sit down at the table, the intestine begins to produce leptin, which tells the brain that the body has received food. “Disturbances in the development of these hormones can cause a person, it becomes difficult to satisfy your hunger,” says the researcher.

What leads to such abuses? The main suspect is an intestinal bacteria. “They play a key role in mechanisms that regulate our appetite,” says the Professor. Some bacteria, particularly E. coli, multiply rapidly, and, as shown by new research from new York University in the framework of the project “the human Microbiome”, can block the signal of saturation going from the gut to the brain. “If our diet is lacking important nutrients bacteria, they are “hungry”, inclined to gluttony us,” explains Kozlowski-Wojciechowska.

The condition of the intestinal microflora depends on the level of insulin, another hormone which has a strong influence on the ability of the brain to control the feeling of hunger and fullness. “While circulating in the blood, insulin gives the brain a signal that it is time to eat,” he says. Therefore, it is more difficult to control your appetite overweight individuals: the insulin level is often elevated, as a result, they are more likely to experience bouts of hunger.

Mechanisms of regulation of appetite is one thing, but the food still pleases us. Nature came up with some cunning ways to we sat down to eat. First and foremost, it stimulates our taste, which was a more complex phenomenon than it was believed until recently. 20 years ago we were confident that one can experience the four basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Recently, this set has added a fifth — umami, the taste of glutamic acid, which is particularly rich in Asian cuisine (the name is in Japanese means “delicious”). New research shows that a tastes are, apparently, more: American scientists from Purdue University say that a person is able to distinguish between fat taste “oleogustus”. It’s the taste of fatty acids comprising triglycerides. “It occurs in the process of chewing. By itself the taste is not very pleasant, however, it gives the dish a very attractive soft flavour, ” says Professor Richard Mates (Richard D. Mattes) from Purdue University. Added to this are the scents that our nose perceives thousands of their receptors.

Head spinning from the colors

All of this is just the beginning of a culinary adventure. How tasty our food seems, also depends on visual perception. No wonder they say that the first person eats with the eyes. How small claims Dana (Dana Small), a neuroscientist from Yale University, type of dish can completely change the sense of taste. In an article published by Scientific American, the researcher talks about the experiment carried out by French scientists from the University of Bordeaux II. They added white wine, red dye, non-smell and taste and then were asked to rate the drink a leading sommelier. It turned out that even experienced experts made a mistake: they described the taste of red rather than white wine, although it is known that their bouquet is different.

Spur appetite colouring dishes. The most serious effect of warm colors: red, yellow, brown. They show that the product has ripened, cooked or roasted. Delicious seems less green and blue food. The role played by the instruments that we use. Researchers from Oxford University have shown that when subjects used a plastic spoon instead of metal, the taste of the yogurt seemed to be more intense and the consistency is thick. Cheese also changes taste depending on the device, which we are served with knife, fork or spoon. With a knife it seems more spicy and salty. The brain tells us associated with a sharp instrument and connects them to taste? We do not know yet.

It is known, however, that our food preferences can influence the type of dishes. Enough to put a tasty dish on the red plate, so that the brain responded to it negatively, argue scientists from the University of Basel. They conducted two experiments, which studied the response of students to drinks and snacks, served in red or blue tanks. It turned out that subjects are much less likely to take chips and a coke in the red ware than in blue. The researchers believe this is due to the specific role of red, the brain instinctively associates it with danger and struggle.

Crunch and hearing

If we want to curb the appetite, food should be taken in silence. Music you can eat a serving much larger size proves Strebel Nanette (Nanette Stroebele) — a researcher from the University of Georgia, which for seven days followed closely by meals 78 students. While the food sounded their favorite music, almost all remained at the table longer and have been more willing to eat. If we add to this subdued light, the effect will be even stronger. As proved by scientists from Cornell University, in restaurants with soft lights and nice music, the guests consumed 175 calories more than in a brightly lit and noisy places.

Well as appetite stimulate the sounds that relate to the consumption of food. “The sound we hear when something is gnawing at is absolutely escapes our attention an element of the concept of “delicious”” — writes in his recently published work of Professor Charles Spence (Charles Spence), working in experimental psychology at Oxford. He believes that we like crunchy food, which is subconsciously associated with the freshness of the products. This dependence, according to Spence, is associated with those times, when people ate mostly vegetables and fruits.

First impressions of food are still very important: the louder the crunch, the more we want to finish everything to the end, and then to take the Supplement. Moreover, for unknown reasons, it seems to us that crunchy foods have fewer calories than mushy. Research showing how many people believe in it, as described in one of the recent issues of the Journal of Consumer Research. The authors, researchers from the University of South Florida, conducted a simple experiment. First, they gave participants a cake a brownie: soft, with a liquid middle, and hard, well baked. And then asked the question: “How do you think how many calories are in this dessert?” Most of the participants answered that the soft cakes were 55% high-calorie solid, although in reality the calories were the same.

In captivity of myths

Such false beliefs associated with food, there is a great variety. “I often encounter with my patients who are striving to lose weight — says Malgorzata kozlowska-Wojciechowska. — Recently, one of them tried to convince me that cannot replace fatty meat with fish, because that is simply impossible to get enough”. This, of course, is not true: although fish have fewer calories than pork, it fills the stomach just the same and it gives a signal to the brain that the person is full.

Quite often you can meet with the opinion about the beneficial effects of alcohol on digestion. Meanwhile, evidence that it speeds up metabolism and prevents weight gain, no. Worse, even small amounts of alcohol boosts appetite. Drunk as aperitif with a glass of wine, we eat more than if not drinking alcohol: so say the psychologists from the Caledonian University in Glasgow. For four days they watched two dozen men, divided into three groups. First drank a half bottle of wine before dinner consisting of garlic toast and pizza, the second drank wine during the meal, and others were washed down the food with water. Then the researchers weighed what was left on the plates of the participants of the experiment. It turned out that most of all managed to eat those who drank wine before the meal: 25% more than a “soft group”. Those who accompanied the lunch with wine, ate only 3% less than them.

The Scottish study was conducted on men, but soon after scientists got the same results in the experiment with the participation of women. Researchers at the Medical College in Indianapolis found that if the ladies at the food he had consumed alcohol, their portion increased by 7%. At the same time managed to establish why this is so. For brains was monitored by functional magnetic resonance imaging. It was found that the participants who consumed alcohol during a meal is much stronger activated areas of the brain responsible for the sense of smell. So the brain has become more sensitive to aromas.

Limitless fun

It is known that food directly affects our mood: the feast, which flatters our senses and stomach, is likely to lead us almost euphoric state. However, in the long run overeating disrupts the brain, causing fluctuations in the development of “happiness hormones” — serotonin and dopamine, similar to those observed, for example, when taking drugs. As proved by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, people who have long abused by high-calorie food, the risk of depression increases by 51% compared to those who prefer a light salad or healthy fish.

What to do to eat less? Replace food and other pleasures, especially those that involve close contact with other people. Then our body will produce oxytocin, which in particular affects the appetite. It is the hormone produced when we experience a feeling of closeness to other people, hugging, kissing, having sex. It not only strengthens relationships, but also prevents mutual distancing: it proves Elizabeth Lawson (Elisabeth Lawson) from Harvard medical school that for several days gave one group of subjects this hormone in the form of a nasal spray and the other a placebo. It turned out that the people who received the real oxytocin ate during one meal at 122 calories and 9 grams of fat less than those who received the “dummy”. Hopes Professor Lawson, the method might be used in the fight against excess weight and metabolic disorders.

It seems that in the fight with gluttony chances we still have.