Human Brain Can Be Trained To Crave Healthy Foods

September 5, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. craving (n.) [krey-ving] – a great or intense desire for something
Example: The neglected child was craving for people’s attention.

2. instinct (n.) [in-stingkt] – a natural or innate ability or possible pattern of action
Example: It is a female animal’s instinct to protect her young.
3. bland (adj.) [bland] – having little or no special flavor
Example: The dish she cooked was bland because she forgot to add some salt to it.

4. induce (v.) [in-doos] – to bring about, produce, or cause
Example: Lack of rest induces low productivity.

5. reversible (adj.) [ri-vur-suh-buhl] – can be changed to an opposite position, condition, or direction
Example: Our unhealthy lifestyle can be reversible if we have discipline.

Read the text below.

Humans’ craving for fatty foods is a survival instinct which can be influenced by the environment, psychologists and nutritionists say.

According to food psychologist Marcia Pelchat, humans instinctively crave for calorie-rich foods like chocolates and cakes. For most of early human history, humans did not have enough to eat, and to avoid dying from hunger, people’s brains became “wired” to spot calorie-rich foods nearby.

However, Pelchat adds that humans also tend to crave whatever they eat in large quantities, even if the food does not taste that good. In an experiment, participants started to crave a bland vanilla milk shake after continuously drinking it for two weeks.

Environment also plays a part in inducing food cravings. Researchers from Tohoku University in Japan associate Japanese women’s craving for sushi to traditional food products and culture.

Although craving for fatty food is natural, it is reversible. Pelchat claims that switching unhealthy food cravings to healthy ones is possible.

The case of Wendy Fox, a former chocolate addict, used these instincts to get rid of her addiction. She followed her nutritionist's advice to do the "sandwich technique". The technique involves not eating the craved food at the beginning of the meal so as not to associate it with satisfaction.

To avoid temptation, Fox got rid of all chocolates from her home. She also carried around healthy foods so she can eat these instead when craving. It was tough at first, but now, Fox hardly ever craves chocolate.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         How do you make sure that the food you eat is healthy?
·         In what other ways can you maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Discussion B

·         What foods considered unhealthy do you sometimes eat?
·         Do you feel guilty when you eat unhealthy foods? Why or why not?

September 5, 2011