03/09/2014 14:01 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

How To Train Your Brain To Love Low-Calorie Foods

New research has revealed that we really can learn to love low-calorie foods.


Susan B. Roberts, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing at Tufts University, and her team conducted a study to determine whether or not we can train the brain to favour healthy foods.

The study, which took place over six months and included 13 overweight and obese men and women, identified that brain activation can be altered toward healthy vs unhealthy foods by a behavioural intervention.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to measure the reward centre associated with learning and addiction on all 13 participants (eight out of the 13 took part in the new weight loss program and the remaining five were in a control group).

The results? Those who had were enrolled in the weight-loss program showed a significant responsiveness to healthy, lower calorie foods after the six month period.

So those salty/sugary cravings we all have? They're easy to beat over time - the shift can be made and it can be an enjoyable process.

"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 food, the combined effects of which are probably critical for sustainable weight control," said co-author of the research paper Sai Krupa Das.

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