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Visual Triggers May Increase Hunger

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Most of us use many visual and auditory cues to make crucial decisions. A perfect example is when it comes to diet.

Scientists at USC found that viewing pictures of high-fat foods and drinking sweetened beverages while
viewing these pictures stimulates appetite and reward centers in the brain.

The researchers used functional MRI imaging to study the brain responses of 13 obese teenaged women.

The subjects had their brains scanned twice, after looking at high-calorie foods and low-calorie foods. Halfway through the scans, the women drank sugar water. The reward areas in the brains were activated when looking at high-calorie foods, and consuming sugar water increased their hunger and desire for these high-calorie foods.

This hints of a complex combination that leads to our decision making and hunger.

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