cross-posted at The Cleaner Plate Club
Always tough to talk overeating around the holidays, right? (insert flashback to that pie last week).
But a story on NPR got me thinking this morning. The main focus of the research compared the response of lab rats to sweet and fatty foods or to cocaine. The foods not only were more addictive in the drive to consume, but like the drugs, caused long term alterations to the brain. It certainly explains most of those moments when I believe I have to have chocolate ... or else. But one tiny detail mentioned in the article stuck in my mind.
The lab mice fed a fatty diet when they were weaned to maturity became obese. Not only did their brains show significant alterations, but these alterations did not go away even after the test subjects were back at a normal weight. The pathways in the brain that responded to the pleasure of fatty and sweet foods built a tolerance. More and more of these foods were desired to illicit the pleasure response from the brain. Like an addiction.
The researcher quoted in the article summed it up best, noting that this phenomenon may explain why obese children tend to stay obese for life.
Which makes a pretty solid case for starting better eating habits with kids now before the pattern is too hard to overcome.