In case you think you’re hard-wired to choose fries, cake, and potato chips over foods like kale, berries, and quinoa, you might want to pay attention. Several studies have proven that our brains can become addicted to unhealthy foods, which led researchers Tufts to ask the question, if we’re able to train ourselves to crave unhealthy foods by eating them regularly, could we also train ourselves into favoring low-calorie and healthy foods by doing the same thing? The answer turned out to be yes.
Researchers analyzed 13 overweight and obese men and women to find out just how ingrained our love for fatty foods actually is. Eight in the study were enrolled in a weight loss program designed by the Tufts researchers, while the remaining five were placed in a control group. Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the reward center of the brain associated with learning and addiction on all of the subjects at the beginning and end of the study.
Ultimately, those who had participated in the weight loss program showed an increased enjoyment of healthy foods in their brains after just six months, while their response to higher-calorie foods was lessened during the time.
Susan Roberts, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University told The Telegraph: “It is possible to shift preferences from unhealthy food to healthy food without surgery…We are very encouraged that, the weight loss program appears to change what foods are tempting to people.”
Bottom line: Choose that bowl of berries over that bowl of fries, and over time you’ll learn to like them just as much.