Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Teaching Kids Healthy Habits Teaching Kids Healthy Habits

Do photos of treats spark cravings for you?

Posted by on Jul. 5, 2012 at 5:45 AM
  • 8 Replies

Photos of sugary treats may spark cravings, study finds

Con Poulos

Photos of chocolate cake and other sugary treats made regions of the brain known to be involved in appetite control light up, according to a new study.

Just glancing at a photo of a rich and gooey chocolate cake can set your brain circuits sparking, switching on cravings and revving up your appetite, a new study shows.

The proof is in the brain scans. Researchers found that when people stare at sugary treats, regions of the brain known to be involved in appetite control and pleasure and reward light up, according to the study presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.

The new study parallels earlier research in cocaine addicts. When addicts were shown anti-drug commercials that included crossed-out needles, the brain regions associated with pleasure fired up and the addicts reported increased craving. Contrary to public health officials’ plans, only the needles registered in the addicts’ brains, not the big red Xs crossing them out.

“We see parallels between substances of abuse, like cocaine, and highly palatable foods,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Kathleen Page, a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California. “Some of the same brain regions light up.”

Page and her colleagues scanned 13 obese Hispanic women looking at images of alluring foods such as cupcakes, chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies.

“What we saw was that the regions of the brain that are involved in reward and hunger lit up,” Page said.

The women, who were also asked to rate their appetite at the beginning and end of the experiment, reported greater hunger and desire for food after looking at the photos.

And in an intriguing second experiment, the researchers asked the women to each consume a sugary drink of approximately 200 calories. Then the researchers repeated the scans as before with the women looking at photos of tasty treats.

“Surprisingly, consumption of the sugar drink — which was essentially equivalent to a 16-ounce soda — actually increased the ratings of hunger and desire,” Page said. “We didn’t predict a hunger increase with the sugar drink. Apparently the brain saw it as an appetizer.”

It’s not clear how average people can protect themselves from photos of tempting treats, Page said. “It’s funny, but when I conducted the studies and looked at the pictures myself, I was thinking, ‘I could eat a piece of chocolate cake right now.’”

It is possible that there could be some sort of public health response, Page said. “You’re probably aware that Disney has said that in 2015 it will stop showing food and beverage ads on their children’s TV shows,” she said. “There have been behavioral studies showing that that the more children see these ads, the more they eat.”

by on Jul. 5, 2012 at 5:45 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-8):
batjmom
by Sarah on Jul. 5, 2012 at 7:00 AM
Nope but then again I don't like sweets
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
VisionSeeker
by on Jul. 5, 2012 at 8:01 AM

 No, I just have to talk or think about them.  :)

timon95
by Betty on Jul. 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM

some, but do, but not all. i do not like chocolate so anything that has chocolate or some sort of fruity sauce does nothing for me. a picture of cheesecake might make me drool :)

countrymomma81
by on Jul. 5, 2012 at 1:44 PM
1 mom liked this

Sometimes. Like, the one above did nothing for me. But walking in the grocery store I all of sudden got a craving for Ding Dongs, which I hadn't had in years. So I bought some. 

PoehlerBear1983
by Meghan on Jul. 5, 2012 at 8:37 PM
Sometimes
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
soccerchik8287
by on Jul. 5, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Yes! They spark cravings for me

bethany169
by Bethany on Jul. 5, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Not so much sugary foods but watching them cook meals on Food Network has me running for the kitchen and a good hot meal LOL
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
nngmommy83
by on Jul. 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM

sometimes but it doesn't have to be sugary foods, just something that sounds appetizing LOL

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN