Why You Keep Eating
You're stuffed but somehow you keep putting food in your mouth. Why? Researchers in Italy think they have found the answer to what has been dubbed "hedonic hunger" – the urge to continue eating just because it's pleasurable.
The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and led by Dr. Palmiero Monteleone of the department of psychiatry at the University of Naples, found that a rise in two chemicals that regulate reward may be the culprits.
HealthDay quoted Joe Vinson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania who was not involved in the research as saying, "This is a very intriguing study. It involves the psychology of the brain, as well as biochemistry. And, yes, it's entirely possible that this kind of chemical overriding might happen, in which the brain wants a particular kind of food even though the person is full."
Vinson went on to say: "What they're talking about here is a Darwinian evolution thing. We're programmed to stuff ourselves for a rainy day. And when you couple this biochemistry with an environment where food is cheap and available and often provided in huge portion sizes, you basically have everything going against us. It just becomes very hard not to overeat."
For his part, Dr. Monteleone said in a journal news release: "The physiological process underlying hedonic eating is not fully understood." However, he suggested that "understanding the physiological mechanisms underlying this eating behavior may shed some light on the obesity epidemic."