It’s a catch-22: Being obese makes you less sensitive to sweet taste, which leads to more sugar cravings and more weight gain. That’s because body fat is responsible for getting your brained hooked on sugar.
Penn State researchers looked at the differences between the sense of taste and pleasure that obese and lean individuals derive from sweet foods.
“When you have excess body weight, the brain is supposed to tell you not to eat more, or not choose high caloric meals” Andras Hajnal, associate professor of neural and behavioral sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, explains. “But this control apparently fails and thus the obesity epidemic is rising, and we want to find out how the sense of taste drives up food intake.”
According to the researchers, an increase in the weight-height ratio is usually accompanied by a decrease in dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s pleasure system.
As a result, overweight individuals seek sweet foods, which affect the perception of food’s taste. And once you are desensitized to sweetness, you will be inclined to eat sweeter and sweeter foods.
Why does this matter to you? Because the fat and sugar in processed foods chronically stimulates–and dulls–our taste and food reward neurons. As a result, we need more and more sugar to keep us satisfied. Put an end to the vicious cycle by maintaining a clean-eating lifestyle that focuses on lean protein, healthy fat, tons of fiber and no sugar!