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Molecular Triggers Present in Snacks Make Them More Addictive, Finds a New Research

by Raja Nandhini on April 13, 2013 at 4:57 AM
 Molecular Triggers Present in Snacks Make Them More Addictive, Finds a New Research

German researchers from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg have identified the reason why crisps are more appealing and most people are tempted to eat more crisps.

Hedonic hyperphagia is a term used to refer eating to excess for pleasure rather than hunger and almost everyone would have experienced it at some point of life. This condition in chronic form results in overweight and obesity.


Dr Tobias Hoch and team experimented with the rats to understand this behavior of getting attracted to crisps. The rats were fed with three foods namely crisps, a powdery mixture of fat and carbohydrates, or ordinary chow pellets. The eating behavior and the brain activity of the rats were monitored.

It was observed that rats were more interested in consuming crisps than the mixture of fat and carbohydrates though both contained the same calories, while chow pellets were the least favorite. According to the researchers, this behavior makes it clear that crisps contain something, which makes them more desirable.

The MRI scans also recorded an increased brain activity and the reward and addiction centers of the brain were stimulated in rats eating crisps. This suggests the presence of molecular triggers in snacks, which stimulated the different brain activity.

Scientists opine that once this trigger is identified, it could be used to develop new drugs in treating over-eating disorder.

Thus, the authors have planned to identify the trigger molecule in their future research.

Source: Medindia
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