Do you ever wonder why you can never stop at one biscuit? Well, there could be a scientific reason for that.
A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition showcases Harvard medical school’s research, which found that the brain’s reward centre is stimulated when the body consumes carbs.
Basically, these findings support an already existing theory that consuming high quantities of carbohydrates can lead to addictive behaviour, and overeating.
What was the study?
The study consisted of 72 volunteers who were put on three different diets, including:
- 60% carbs, 20% fat, and 20% protein
- 40% carbs, 40% fat, and 20% protein
- 20% carbs, 60% fat, and 20% protein
The diet lasted 20 weeks, with the aim of acheiving weight stability. Participants were provided with all meals and snacks for the full 20 weeks.
Each participant had to undergo fasting brain MRI scans to measure brain blood flow, followed by another scan four hours after eating their first meal of the day.
Researchers found little to no difference in the stimulation of the brain’s reward centre between the groups that ate 40% carbs and 20% carbs.
Interestingly, participants on the diet of 60% carbohydrates had an increase of 43% blood flow to the ‘reward centre’ in the brain, compared to the group eating 20% carbohydrates.
This means the part of their brain that stimulates addictive behaviour was significantly higher in the 60% carb group.
What does this mean?
The results of this study are complicated.
They showed that the reward centre experienced a higher level of stimulation in the group eating a higher carbohydrate diet, which subsequently led to a higher level of calorie consumption due to cravings.
This study has provided great insight into the impact carbohydrates have on our desire to eat, but there is likely a need for follow up studies to determine whether the quality of the carohydrate impacts the quantity of food eaten.
This study also adds weight to the evidence of a healthy fat, high protein diet and its positive impact on the body.
It’s why we’re so passionate about the health of Australians, and how our program can impact their health.