We’ve all heard that fat is bad for us, and now we’re all hearing that carbohydrates are bad, truth is…. it’s all a load of bull. We NEED carbohydrates and fats in order to survive and lead a healthy life, without a sufficient amount of these two macronutrients (along with protein) you will suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. However, new research suggests that the combination of fats and carbohydrates really gets us going, and it’s this that could be contributing to obesity.
When we eat foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, the reward centre in our brain goes crazy and we enjoy it more than we do having carbohydrates or fats on their own. Unfortunately for us, the majority of foods that have this combination are processed, high calorie, low nutrient and therefore not really good for us. In a recent study of 206 subjects, scientists took brain scans of the subjects whilst they viewed images of foods, mainly high in fat and sugar. The subjects were also given money to bid on items of food, unsurprisingly, people were willing to pay more for foods that had the combination of fats and carbohydrates. However, a large point to stress is that the neural circuit for the reward centre lit up more than when people saw their favourite foods, high sugar foods and high fat foods.
But why? Well scientists reckon that it’s an evolution thing. You see, we’ve had carbohydrates and fats the whole time humans have been around, but the combination of the two hasn’t been around so long. Only in recent years in terms of evolution have we had processed foods, therefore our brains aren’t quite sure how to respond to it just yet. Sadly this sucks for us because our brain wants more when it’s not great for us, and this can lead to problems such as obesity, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
What can you do? Well i’m afraid there’s not that much you can do about your brain’s response, one of the best things you can do is reduce the amount you eat these foods as much as possible. The less you have them the less you’ll crave them, and I know i’m saying this as though it’s a piece of cake, it’s really not, but you’ve got to push through it.