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

Scientists predict extinction risk for hard-to-track species

September 20, 2018

Species are going extinct all over the world: Scientists believe that Earth is losing between 200 and 2,000 species every year. That number is squishy, partly because there are so many species for which they lack good data—particularly ...

Mathematics meets biology to uncover unexpected biorhythms

September 20, 2018

A novel mathematical approach has uncovered that some animal cells have robust 12-hour cycles of genetic activity, in addition to circadian or 24-hour cycles. The method, published in the journal PLOS ONE, assessed the periodicity ...

Co-evolution between a 'parasite gene' and its host

September 20, 2018

A Danish research team has delineated a complex symbiosis between a 'parasitic' noncoding RNA gene and its protein-coding 'host' gene in human cells. The study reveals how co-evolution of the host gene and parasite gene has ...

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.