WOMEN’S DESIRE AND EATING

Time Magazine just did a story on how eating affects A woman’s desires. Results? Women may be more responsive to romance when they’re full.

That’s according to the results of a small new brain-scan pilot study published in the journal Appetite.

The study looked at how women’s brains respond to images of fatty foods on an empty and full stomach and found that both their hunger and dieting history influenced brain activation patterns. So…does a woman’s hunger state effect stimuli beyond food: It does.

20 young women who were all normal weight were studied.

Half had tried at least twice in the past to lose weight, and half had never dieted. All of the women fasted for eight hours, then came to the lab hungry. The researchers sent them into an MRI scanner, where the women viewed romantic pictures, like a couple holding hands, and neutral images, like a bowling ball. The researchers saw similar levels of activation between the two groups of women. They then drank 500 calories’ worth of a meal replacement drink and popped back into the scanner to look at the same pictures again on a full stomach. This time, “they were more responsive to romantic cues! Conclusion? Instead of being anxious and annoyed and irritable when you’re hungry…once full - then we can get on to better things.

When you’re fasting, you’re “entirely preoccupied and focused with thoughts of food.

Other research has shown that when dieters are offered rewards like food, they usually show a stronger brain response after they’ve eaten—which suggests that they’re still motivated to eat even once they’re nutritionally full.

There’s some evidence that people who are more impulsive or more reward-sensitive tend to eat more in certain situations, but there haven’t been too many imaging studies looking at this population and looking across different kinds of stimuli.

Note – this was just a small group of women all the same age. Not a broad study.

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