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durch  |  30-May-2015 11:53

“It’s recreational over-eating that may occur in almost everyone at some time in life.And the chronic form is a key factor in the epidemic of overweight and obesity that here in the United States threatens health problems for two out of every three people.” The team at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Erlangen, Germany, probed the condition with an ingenious study in which scientists allowed one group of laboratory rats to feast on potato chips. Scientists then used high-tech magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices to peer into the rats’ brains, seeking differences in activity between the rats-on-chips and the rats-on-chow.“The effect of potato chips on brain activity, as well as feeding behavior, can only partially be explained by its fat and carbohydrate content,” explained Tobias Hoch, Ph. “There must be something else in the chips that make them so desirable,” he said.

Although carbohydrates and fats also were a source of high energy, the rats pursued the chips most actively and the standard chow least actively.

This was further evidence that some ingredient in the chips was sparking more interest in the rats than the carbs and fats mixture, Hoch said.

They ate similar amounts of the chow as well as the chips and the mixture, but the rats more actively pursued the potato chips, which can be explained only partly by the high energy content of this snack, he said.

And, in fact, they were most active in general after eating the snack food.

Among the reasons why people are attracted to these foods, even on a full stomach, was suspected to be the high ratio of fats and carbohydrates, which send a pleasing message to the brain, according to the team.

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