ST. LOUIS – Researchers have discovered a way to block fatty diet consumption by deactivating a part of the brain that regulates emotion. But the blockade will not affect people who are hungry.
“It appears that two different brain circuits control the motivation to seek and consume,” said
“Understanding how this circuit in the brain works may provide insight into the exact networks and chemicals in our brain that determine the factors influencing our feeding habits,” he said.
The release of opioids, pleasure chemicals that can lead to euphoria, into the brain produces binge eating in non-hungry people.
“A key to curbing the obesity epidemic in America is controlling the desire to binge eat,” Will said.
“Humans have more programming to start and continue eating than to stop eating, especially when they have a bowl of ice cream in front of them. Most of us would finish it even if we weren’t hungry.”
Researchers said deactivating the basolateral amygdala had no effect on feeding in rats that were simply deprived of food for 24 hours, said an U-M release.
This suggests that the basolateral amygdala is specifically involved in the overconsumption of food based on its palatability or pleasure driven by opioids rather than the level of hunger.
The study was published in Behavioural Neuroscience.