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The Guardian - Hunger primes the brain for junk food

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Published: 16 Nov 2011

The first law of home economics states that the amount of food in a supermarket trolley rises in direct proportion to the shopper's hunger level. But while the danger is well known to shoppers who venture out on an empty stomach, how the problem arises in the brain has remained a mystery.

The first law of home economics states that the amount of food in a supermarket trolley rises in direct proportion to the shopper's hunger level. But while the danger is well known to shoppers who venture out on an empty stomach, how the problem arises in the brain has remained a mystery.

In a new study of hunger's effects on the mind, neuroscientists pieced together what happens in the brain that makes us buy more food when we are famished. The findings point to ways of overcoming the temptations of the food aisles and throw fresh light on the rise of obesity over the past 30 years.

"You should never make decisions about food when you are starving. When you go to the supermarket hungry, the food you are drawn to is high-calorie junk food," said Dr Alain Dagher, a neurologist at the Montreal Neurological Institute. "You assign way too much value to calories and so way too little to health and other things."

Source Site: /newsroom
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