New research has revealed that exercise kills cravings for fatty food.
Researchers found that a rat’s desire to eat fatty food after a long period without eating was reduced if the rats performed high-intensity exercise.
The researchers undertook the study to investigate a phenomenon known as “incubation of craving”; basically, the longer you go without something, the harder it becomes to resist.
“A really important part of maintaining a diet is to have some brain power—the ability to say ‘no, I may be craving that, but I’m going to abstain,’” says Travis Brown, a Washington State University physiology and neuroscience researcher, in a university release.
“Exercise could not only be beneficial physically for weight loss but also mentally to gain control over cravings for unhealthy foods.”
Cravings: exercise to kill them!
The researchers put 28 rats through a training program, teaching them to press a lever which would turn on a light and make a sound. Pressing the lever also dispensed a high-fat pellet treat for them to eat. After their training, researchers watched to see how many times the rats would press the lever just to see and hear the same cues.
The rats were then split into two groups, one engaging in a high-intensity treadmill running program and the other carrying on with their normal level of daily activity. The authors did not feed the rats the high-fat pellets for a period of 30 days.
At the end of the month, the food lever was brought back. Unlike in the first experiment, though, the lever did not dispense the fatty pellet. Instead it only turned on the light and made the sound.
Rats who didn’t exercise pressed the lever significantly more than the rats in the exercise group. The researchers believe this clearly shows a diminished craving among exercising rats.
The team now plans to investigate how different levels of exercise impact food cravings. They’re also looking into how exactly exercise changes the way the brain curbs the desire to eat junk food.
Eating processed food for just a month can lead to memory loss
Shocking new research has revealed that eating processed food for just four weeks can cause memory loss in rats.
The memory loss appears to be linked to massively increased levels of inflammation in the rats’ brains as a result of taking up the new diet.
Different groups of rats were fed a study diet that aimed to mimic ready-to-eat human foods that are often packaged for long shelf lives, such as potato chips and other snacks, frozen dishes like pasta dishes and pizzas, and deli meats containing preservatives.
The researchers randomly assigned 3-month-old and 24-month-old male rats to their normal chow (32% calories from protein, 54% from wheat-based complex carbs and 14% from fat), a highly processed diet (19.6% of calories from protein, 63.3% from refined carbs (cornstarch, maltodextrin and sucrose) and 17.1% from fat), or the same processed diet supplemented with DHA.
The researchers noted that, after four weeks on these diets, genes linked to a powerful pro-inflammatory protein and other markers of inflammation were activated at a significantly elevated level in the hippocampus and amygdala of the older rats that ate the processed diet alone compared to young rats on any diet and also older rats that ate the DHA-supplemented processed food.
Click here to read more about this terrifying study and others like it
It’s still unclear whether food can be just as addictive to people as drugs. However, Brown notes that “no one binge eats broccoli.”
Despite this fact, there are signs food can still have a powerful impact on the human brain, with many people responding to things like fast-food ads. Finding a way to disregard these triggers could benefit many dieters trying to lose weight and avoid obesity.
“Exercise is beneficial from a number of perspectives: it helps with cardiac disease, obesity and diabetes; it might also help with the ability to avoid some of these maladaptive foods,” Brown concludes.
“We’re always looking for this magic pill in some ways, and exercise is right in front of us with all these benefits.”
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