A group of researchers claims that they found the “switch” in the brain that turns on and off sugar cravings. The switch was successfully accessed only in mice, but a human trial is on its way.
Researchers at Columbia University explained the switch can turn off portions of the emotion center of the brain, aka the amygdala. During the experiment, laboratory mice started to think bitter foods are sweet and sweet foods are bitter. As a result, the animals started drinking water as if it were a sugary drink.
Our brain identifies a certain taste of the food when the food gets in contact with tongue cells. These cells fire signals to some parts of the brain to send a message about the food’s taste.
Scientists Can Help You Derive No Enjoyment from Sweets
However, things don’t stop here. When the brain identifies a taste or mix of tastes, it links the taste to past experience, emotions, and memories, for a comprehensive response. Senior researcher Charles S. Zuker explained that taste can be broken down into smaller units, and those units can be removed, altered, or isolated.
For instance, tweaking the brain’s taste centers can separate the tastes sweet and bitter and even swap them with each other. When researchers turned off the sweet taste receptors in the amygdala, mice recognized the taste, but they sensed no emotional connection to it.
It would be like taking a bite of your favorite chocolate cake but not deriving any enjoyment from doing so,
lead author Li Wang said.
Wang added that deriving no pleasure from chocolate could stop us from overindulging in it. As a result, we may stop eating after just a few bites.
Image Source: Pixabay
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