We’re all guilty of the odd overindulgence, maybe squeezing in a pudding at a lovely restaurant or having an extra handful of popcorn at the cinema. But if you frequently eat past the point of fullness, despite feeling uncomfortable or bloated, scientists can finally explain why.
New research has revealed that the brain signal to keep eating is stronger than the one telling you to stop.
In the future, there may be a simple remedy. Scientists behind the study, based at the University of Michigan, have discovered that the drug naloxone can help quieten this urge, and drastically reduce the amount you eat in a sitting.
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Interestingly, they also found that triggering the ‘go’ signal which makes people keep eating also activates the brain’s opioid system – the area that controls addiction.
‘There’s a whole industry built on enticing you to eat, whether you need it or not, through visual cues, packaging, smells, emotional associations,’ says study author Professor Huda Akil.
‘People get hungry just looking at them, and we need to study the neural signals involved in those attentional, perceptional mechanisms that drive us to eat.’