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Why are we still eating even if we are not hungry?

April 25, 2019, 10:37
Updated on April 25, 2019 10:58

A team of researchers found that the brain chain responsible for this may continue to eat although it meets the energy needs and is not hungry, according to a study published in the journal Neuron,

This finding, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina, USA, may be a new target for treatment against obesity and binge eating.

"This circuit seems to be the way the brain tells you that if something is really good, it is worth the price you pay to get it, so do not stop," says lead author of the study, Thomas Kash.

In laboratory experiments, Kash's team finds a specific network of cellular communication that originates from the brain area that processes emotions and motivates mice to continue eating delicious foods even if their basic energy needs are met.

The existence of this mammalian brain chain can help explain why people often overeat in a contemporary environment of "hearty and delicious" food, the authors say.

The chain is a by-product of evolution when high-calorie foods are scarce, so our brains are designed to consume as many calories as nobody knows when the next superfood will come.

Scientists seeking anti-obesity have spent decades exploring and coping with brain cells and circuits involved in the usual "homeostatic" diet that is triggered by hunger and keeps our high energy levels.

It is believed that hedonic food reflects the long-term adaptation of people when hunger was honor and the adoption of high calorie foods and their consumption whenever they are available provide an extra survival advantage by adding extra energy.

Following this instinct now, during abundance, can lead to obesity, a disease that causes related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Experiments over recent years have shown that our wiring for hedonic feeding includes nociceptin, a small protein that functions as a signal molecule in the mammalian nervous system.

Kash and his colleagues have designed mice to produce a fluorescent molecule along with nociceptin and illuminate the cells that control the chains of this protein.

There are numerous nociceptin patterns in the brain, but Kash and his colleagues have noticed that one of them has been activated when mice have the ability to consume high calorie foods.

This chain is designed to different parts of the brain, including those known to regulate nutrition, and begins in the brain that processes the emotions called central amygdala.

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