The Science Behind Eating Habits
Weight and eating right are constantly thrown at us today. Many diet and exercise plans claim to be based in scientific fact, that the findings have been completed in a lab under controlled circumstances to produce results. Some of these articles are titled “Weird Reasons We Gain Weight” and “The Psychology of a Restaurant Menu.” These articles are everywhere on the Internet, and make various claims behind the science of eating, food and things it can do to our bodies. I will examine the popular science behind the psychology of eating, the popularity of diets proven by “science” and how science drives our eating habits as a society and culture. David A. Kessler is a Harvard trained doctor, lawyer and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Kessler is also the author of the book “The End of Overeating” which examines why people cannot resist or stop consuming certain foods. Kessler believes that overeating begins in our brain, not in our bodies. He has developed a theory that claims that foods high in fat, salt and sugar alter the brain’s chemistry in ways that causes people to overeat.1 According to Kessler, rather than satisfying hunger the combination of salt-fat-sugar stimulate the brain to crave more of these foods. What happens is these foods cause the brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure center, into the person’s body. This causes the person to associate these foods with pleasure, causing a craving of the food. Over time, just the thought or sight of the foods makes the dopamine pathways light up, causing an uncontrollable desire for the food. Once the person has eaten the food, the brain releases opioids, which produces emotional relief. This combination of dopamine and opioids create a pathway that activates every time the person thinks about the food. Deprivation, such as that caused when a person diets, only causes a person to crave the food more, this is why...
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