Fighting the Eating Urge

So a lot of my clients (mainly women) bemoan the fact that they just don’t have any self control.  As it turns out, researchers are beginning to find more and more support that there is biological reason for that!  So our food-laden environments are extremely triggering and hard to ignore.  Gene-Jack Wang, a senior scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York has published some fascinating findings on the topic of assuaging food cravings (or not!).

After 18 hours of fasting, brain scans were taken of men and women as they saw and smelled their favorite foods (think burgers, ice cream sundaes, pizza, etc.).  Following the scan, researchers asked the participants to do their best to ignore the food and take their minds off of it while their brains were scanned a second time.  While both men and women reported that they were able to quell their cravings, the brain scans revealed that (on average) the areas of the brain that control the drive to eat fired less for men but not for women.  Simply put, when people are presented with food and asked to consciously inhibit the urge to eat, men are better able to do it than women.  So ladies, if you’ve ever wondered how your male counterparts have forgotten to eat or don’t mind turning down dessert, this may explain why!

I think it’s absolutely fascinating that our drive to eat is affected by our environment, our mind, as well as the physiological processes of our bodies.  Be mindful of the fact that we are subject to all three but have the biggest control over our environment.  Perhaps there are ways to create a healthier food environment around you today…