What if you could train your brain to prefer healthy foods over foods that are bad for you? It could be a possibility, according to new research.
By eating foods that don’t leave you hungry, you can train your brain to crave healthy low-calorie foods, suggests a study by scientists from Tufts University in the US and published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.
Even for those with strong, established food addictions who often find it hard to improve their diets, the study showed that the brain can learn to like healthier foods.
Researchers scanned the ‘addiction center’ part of the brain in a small group of 13 overweight and obese people including both men and women, results showed that food preferences changed and there were increased cravings for healthy foods with lower calories.
Eight of the participants were on a weight loss program and the remaining five were not. The study focused on a diet including foods high in fiber and protein but low in carbohydrates that would prevent the participants from feeling hungry and giving in to unhealthy food cravings.
At both the start and finish of a six-month time period, the participants brained were scanned by MRI. Researchers found that the group that was on the weight loss program showed changes in their brain’s ‘reward centre.’ They also had better responses to photographs of healthy, low calorie foods.
The research could be useful in regards to patients of gastric bypass surgery by making healthy foods more attractive and helping to make a shift from unhealthy foods both before and after surgery.