The real reason behind your cravings
Science explains our desire for that ever tempting salt-fat-sugar combo – and how you can stop it
Picture this: an office party with an array of food to choose from. There’s a plate filled with slices of colourful veg and humuus alongside a big bowl of potato chips – it may take a second or two to decide, but before you know it you are munching away on the enticing, crunchy saltiness of those chips. And boy, are they good!
You may think you are in control (it’s a special occasion and only a handful, you tell yourself ) but that internal argument of ‘good’ food versus ‘bad’ has no power over the pull of the cravings we all experience. Cravings have nothing to do with hunger or our need for nutrients, rather, as science has shown, it’s actually all about a salt-fat-sugar combo that’s too tempting for the brain to say no.
Much has been made in recent times of the addictive pull of sugar, and how it triggers a release of dopamine, the brain chemical associated with feelings of pleasure, the same response that is activated by drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.
And now, new research by Yale University in the US shows how foods that combine fat and carbohydrates (think processed foods such as chips) exert an even stronger lure over our brains than sugar. It’s no wonder your focus moves from those healthy vegies and dip to that bowl filled with crunchy crisps.