A balanced diet consists of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and good fats. Many people who are trying to adopt healthy eating habits have trouble resisting high calorie snacks and fast food. Good news! Not only do your taste buds adapt over time, but research from Tufts University demonstrates that the brain can be trained to prefer healthy, low-calorie foods over high-calorie ones.
“We don’t start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta,” said senior and co-corresponding author Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory. “This conditioning happens over time in response to eating – repeatedly! – what is out there in the toxic food environment.”
The research has shown that sugary foods can alter brain circuits, making people crave for unhealthy foods. In fact, people addicted to high-calorie foods have altered the sense of taste and even smell. Scientists in the current study wanted to know whether or not these circuits could be changed to make the brain prefer healthy foods.
The participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans at the start of the study and again six months later. The researchers found that there were significant changes in the brain circuits of people who were on diets, especially in areas that controlled addiction and reward.
“The weight loss program is specifically designed to change how people react to different foods, and our study shows those who participated in it had an increased desire for healthier foods along with a decreased preference for unhealthy foods.”
The lesson here is that healthy eating habits are not only achievable with time, but also sustainable, making it easier to stick to a healthy balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
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