Harder for Women to Say No to Foods

A recent brain brain research suggest that women unconsciously have difficulty saying no to their favorite foods than men.

Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, author of this research and a senior scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, thinks that this might be due to the fact that women sometimes have to eat for two.

The goal of this research is to find out why some people do not stop eating when they are full. The stomach is supposed to send a signal to the brain saying that it’s already full, "but if you go to the buffet, sometimes you just cannot stop." Wang says.

Before, there weren’t many opportunities for us to overeat, but that changed with the advent of modern society, particularly 30-40 years ago when obesity became more common in in the US.

The procedure

The researchers asked 13 women and 10 men what their favorite foods were. The participants named an array of foods including fried chicken,pizza, lasagna, as well as desserts like ice cream and snacks such as brownies.

After fasting for 20 hours, the participants were offered their favorite foods. The researchers even heated some of the foods to make them more enticing.

The participants were permitted to smell and even taste the food, but were not allowed to eat it.

Next, in an experiment, the participants were instructed to try to curb their desire to eat, while PET scans checked their brain.

The researchers found that certain areas of the brain of both men and women were activated when they were tempted with food. These activated brain areas control emotions like motivation.

It was also found that both men and women were successful in abating their hunger by curbing their desire to eat the food. For women though, their brain scans suggested that their brains were still acting as though they were hungry. This means that the female participants thought they were less hungry, but their brains were not convinced.

Eating for two

Wang suggests that hormones may have a hand in this physical process because they need to eat more when they are with child.

This research could help shed some light on some people’s inability resist eating high calorie foods. "Some people cannot inhibit themselves, and we need to help those people," Wang adds.

This study appears in last month’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Source: iVillage.