It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and at Massachusetts General Hospital. A brain scan study in adult men and women suggests that it is possible to reverse the addictive power of unhealthy food while also increasing preference for healthy foods.
“We don’t start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta,” said senior and co-corresponding author and director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory. “This conditioning happens over time in response to eating — repeatedly! — what is out there in the toxic food environment.”
Scientists have suspected that, once unhealthy food addiction circuits are established, they may be hard or impossible to reverse, subjecting people who have gained weight to a lifetime of unhealthy food cravings and temptation. To find out whether the brain can be re-trained to support healthy food choices, Researchers studied the reward system in overweight and obese men and women, whom were participants in a new weight loss program designed by Tufts University researchers and those who were in a control group and were not enrolled in the program.
Both groups underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans at the beginning and end of a six-month period. Among those who participated in the weight loss program, the brain scans revealed changes in areas of the brain reward center associated with learning and addiction. After six months, this area had increased sensitivity to healthy, lower-calorie foods, indicating an increased reward and enjoyment of healthier food cues. The area also showed decreased sensitivity to the unhealthy higher-calorie foods.
“The weight loss program is specifically designed to change how people react to different foods, and our study shows those who participated in it had an increased desire for healthier foods along with a decreased preference for unhealthy foods, the combined effects of which are probably critical for sustainable weight control. To the best of our knowledge this is the first demonstration of this important switch.” The authors hypothesize that several features of the weight loss program were important, including behavior change education and high-fiber, low glycemic menu plans.
“Although other studies have shown that surgical procedures like gastric bypass surgery can decrease how much people enjoy food generally, this is not very satisfactory because it takes away food enjoyment generally rather than making healthier foods more appealing,” said the researchers. “We show here that it is possible to shift preferences from unhealthy food to healthy food without surgery, and that MRI is an important technique for exploring the brain’s role in food cues.”
–Nutrition & Diabetes
Dr. Keith & Laurie Nemec’s comments on “Your Brain can be Trained to LIKE Healthy Food”:
For the last 30 years at Total Health Institute we have known what this research has just discovered. It is simply that you can train yourself to desire healthy food, the food God designed you to eat. This study proved that people who where overweight and addicted to junk food could actually be trained to like healthy food proven by MRI brain scans. A powerful statement by one of the researchers was “We don’t start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta, this conditioning happens over time in response to eating – repeatedly!” What this means is when you keep doing something long enough, whatever that something is becomes an ingrained habit seen in the reward center of the brain.
Over the last 30 years we have had thousands of patients complete our program and almost universally they start the program not liking the health promoting food and they end the program desiring the food and not liking the food they used to crave. How do we achieve these results in 6 months? By teaching! For example not many of our patients like raw garlic when they enter the program but once they attend our 90 minute class on all the research on garlic and its powerful health benefits almost all of them start implementing raw garlic into their diet without any forcing or coercing. Why do they do this?
Knowledge is power to change.
Now lets go to where all this food addiction began in the beginning:
When Adam and Eve disobeyed the covenant with God by eating that which was forbidden, they fell from Grace and as they Bible states “there eyes were opened and they realized they were naked” (ego was born) and then after ego followed the initial onset of the negative emotion of fear.
What happened to Adam and Eve once they broke covenant with God was they gave rise to what the Bible calls the sin nature, the flesh or the old man. We gave this nature a name in our book and audio series and called it “sally & george” you can call your old nature anything but not your name because it is not you it is only the memory of a lie that keeps trying to tell you who you are but it is all a lie.
In the beginning we desired fruits and vegatables because that is what God created us to eat and that is what we did eat. Once we broke covenant with God and ego was born this was the beginning of trying to please the flesh instead of enjoying the pleasure of God.
We have all gone astray and lost our way but that is what this study showed. If you get back to your roots, who you ARE (the sons and daughters of God) and what you desire for food (vegetables and fruits and plant foods) and what you desire for life (to be all that God created you to be in body, mind and spirit) then these desires with replace the old negative desires and you will return to the way you were meant to be in the beginning.
Now let us complete our phrase that we started:
Knowledge is power to change when that knowledge is based in TRUTH