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Blame your bad eating habits on brain getting ‘turned on’ by sausage rolls

The humble sausage roll has quite an impact on the human brain – they can ‘turn us on’ and ‘dominate our brains’, according to scientists.

Brain chemistry ‘fires up’ when we see a tasty treat and is to blame for our bad eating habits, a team of US researchers have found.

They hope the discovery will help people to better understand food choices.

According to scientists’ findings, an area of the brain linked to reward and pleasure instantly ‘fires up’ as soon as we spot something yummy among a selection of different foods.

And it causes us to eat something we like the look of quickly, with bigger bites.

The ventral pallidum sparks a high level of brain activity, said David Ottenheimer, leading the team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

"We found a region in the brain that reflects our perception of food in a strikingly dominant way," he said, according to The Sun.

"The level of brain activity we saw exceeded our expectations by far."

He added that further investigation of the ventral pallidum will uncover critical understanding of how we make decisions about eating.


"If we want to figure out why a food can be exciting in one scenario and disappointing in another, ventral pallidum could be the key," he said.

The experiment was designed to uncover how the brain determines what and how much to eat.

They gave rats the choice between two sugar drinks – their preferred sucrose or a less popular one made from sweeteners.

Published in journal Nature Communications, the findings showed how sensors in the ventral pallidum lit up for the sucrose treat.

As soon as the rodents realised they were being given the alternative, brain activity dimmed.

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