Scientists have named an unexpected reason for cravings for junk food
In October, Moscow hosted a whole series of lectures organized by the Novikov School and the educational project “Synchronization”. The lectures were about food. After all, food has long ceased to be just a way to satisfy hunger and has turned into something more, into a real cultural phenomenon. In particular, experts talked about how food affects the brain and how the brain forces us to eat, even when the stomach does not feel like it. And also why we love sweets and overeat.
Doctor of Biological Sciences (Moscow State University), specialist in the field of brain physiology.
“Physiologist Pavel Simonov divided human biological needs into three groups: vital – vital, zoosocial – responsible for interaction with each other and self-development needs directed to the future. Hunger belongs to the first group, the need for food is a vital need. “
Why do we love sweets
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy, the main gasoline on which our body works. The body understands this very well, because our gustatory system is closely connected with the hunger center in the brain. Which, by the way, is responsible for the fact that “the appetite comes with eating.” Food that increases vitality (and this is just sweet, fatty, salty), so affects the language that we feel powerful pleasure from it. On a subconscious level, we prefer just such food – it is programmed at the genetic level.
“If we live in a situation where there is a lack of positive emotions, it is tempting to compensate for the lack of positive by eating various nutritious and unhealthy foods. In this sense, food has an antidepressant effect. But an antidepressant is questionable, because it results in weight gain, ”says Vyacheslav Dubynin.
Addiction to fatty and sweet food forms something similar to addiction – you cannot call it narcotic, but still the positive emotions from such food are so powerful that the brain cannot resist it.
“Therefore, when we go on a diet, depression begins – the positive emotions that we have lost along with junk food need to be replenished somehow. Replace with novelty, movement, look for other sources of positiveness, except in food, ”the scientist explains.
By the way, we eat sweets unconsciously. Sociologists conducted an experiment: it turned out that if candies are in a transparent vase, they are eaten literally on the machine. And if in opaque – they also eat, but much less. Therefore, the temptation must be hidden away.
Why we overeat
Hunger is a basic need that we have inherited from time immemorial, when we had to fight for every calorie. This is a kind of whip for our brain, which does not allow us to sit still, repeats: go ahead, move, catch, search, otherwise you will be left without energy.
“Our ancestors did not have a restrictive system, so as not to eat too much. It was only important not to eat something harmful. Throughout his life, a person constantly learned to find food for himself more and more efficiently. And now, in the modern world, there is too much available food, ”says Vyacheslav Albertovich.
As a result, we are captured by positive emotions in this world of abundance. We start to eat too much – firstly, because it is tasty, and secondly, the memory of our ancestors insists that we need to gorge ourselves for the future.
Food is a guarantee of pleasure, and if stress, depression, then everything somehow happens by itself. The temptation to eat something tasty (that is, sweet and fatty), even if it’s midnight, turns into extra pounds. Therefore, you need to control yourself, negotiate with yourself, with your body.
“There is no pill that would turn off the center of hunger. Therefore, it will not be possible to shift the care of weight to pharmacologists. The fight for your weight remains on our conscience – there is no escape from calorie counting, ”the expert concludes.
How advertising works
“Compare how much money we spend on food and how much on museums, theaters, and self-education. This speaks of the great importance of congenital programs. You need to eat – this is a very serious innate reflex, ”says the scientist.
There are external stimuli that trigger the need for food: gustatory, olfactory, visual, tactile, etc. This is well known to marketers, it is not for nothing that a whole industry has appeared – neuromarketing, which studies the effect of advertising on our subconscious.
“Needs are always in competition. Our behavior is usually determined by only one of them: whether hunger or curiosity, ”continues Vyacheslav Albertovich.
And advertising is designed so that two powerful needs – hunger и curiosity – do not compete, but one works for the benefit of the other. Seductive videos awaken curiosity, exploratory interest in us, are replete with external stimuli that awaken hunger, and at the same time involve imitation.
“The easiest way to advertise food is simply to show the person chewing with pleasure. Mirror neurons fire, imitation begins. The novelty and surprise add positive emotions. As a result, the brain remembers the name of the product, and in the store pulls it out into the white light, ”explains the expert.
It turns out double pressure on the brain: advertising promises us especially powerful positive emotions, affects directly the subconscious, on innate reflexes, prompting us to go for a wallet and, of course, eat.
By the way
Food has taken an important place not only in our separate kitchen, but also in world art. Why Andy Warhol drew cans of soup, and Cezanne – pears instead of women, you can find out on November 27 at the lecture “Food in Art”. Natalia Vostrikova, art critic and teacher of theory and history of fine arts, will show you a new look at long-known paintings.