Brains Learn to Crave Better Food

The Physicians Committee

Brains Learn to Crave Better Food

September 4, 2014

Your brain can learn to prefer healthful foods, according to a study published online in Nutrition & Diabetes. Researchers observed the section of the brain associated with reward functions in 13 overweight participants who were either part of a dietary intervention or part of a group who made no dietary changes. The intervention consisted of a low-calorie, low-glycemic diet with high-fiber fruits and vegetables.

While acquiring MRI images, researchers showed participants pictures of both low-calorie and high-calorie foods. Over time, those who followed the diet exhibited more brain pleasure for the low-calorie foods and less for the high-calorie foods and lost more weight, compared with the control group. This study is among the first to demonstrate alterations in food cravings and preferences.

Deckersbach T, Das SK, Urban LE, et al. Pilot randomization trial demonstrating reversal of obesity-related abnormalities in reward system responsivity to food cues with a behavioral intervention. Nutr Diabetes. Published online September 1, 2014.

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