Fat and carb combo creates stronger food craving

June 15, 2018 by Bill Hathaway, Yale University
Credit: stock.adobe.com

When fat and carbohydrates are combined in a single food they are more rewarding, calorie for calorie, than foods with either energy source alone, a Yale-led study published June 14 in the journal Cell Metabolism shows.

Fatty foods like cheese trigger one pathway of signals to reward centers in the brain while carb-loaded foods like grain or a lollipop take another route, said Dana Small, professor of psychiatry at Yale and senior author of the paper. "Our study shows that when the signals are combined they make foods more reinforcing."

What makes this finding interesting, says Small, is that foods high in fat and carbohydrate do not exist in nature with only one exception: breast milk. This makes sense, said Small, since it is important for infants to learn to suckle in order to survive.

"In the modern food environment that is rife with processed foods high in fat and carbohydrate like donuts, French fries, chocolate bars, and , this reward potentiation may backfire to promote overeating and obesity," Small said.

Explore further: Foods combining fats and carbohydrates more rewarding than foods with just fats or carbs

Related Stories

Breaking down calories

June 9, 2018

You see them counted on food labels and now on restaurant menus. But do you know what calories are?

Can you train your brain to crave healthy foods?

September 19, 2014

The mere sight of a slice of gooey chocolate cake, a cheesy pizza, or a sizzling burger can drive us to eat these foods. In terms of evolution we show preference for high calorie foods as they are an important source of energy. ...

Recommended for you

Orangutan mothers found to engage in displaced reference

November 15, 2018

A pair of researchers with the University of St Andrews has observed orangutan mothers engaging in displaced reference after observation of a perceived threat. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, Adriano ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.