Scientists have identified pathways in the brain that trigger impulsive eating.
Researchers from the University of Georgia have discovered how the brain works when engaging in impulsive behavior.
By studying the brains of fruit fly larvae, they have noticed that certain parts of the brain are activated when the flies smell something appetizing, even though they are not hungry.
The flies continue to eat something even if they are full, but only if the food has high sugar content.
The research shows that the brain chemicals called neuropeptides, that signal impulsive behavior in humans, are similar to the ones found in the flies.
Researchers think that these impulsive brain functions are a very ancient evolutionary link between humans and insects.
Ping Shen, a UGA associate professor of cellular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences said: “If we understand how this compulsive eating behavior comes about, we maybe can devise a way, at least for the behavioral aspect, to prevent it. We can modulate our behaviors better or use chemical interventions to calm down these cues.”
Impulsive eating can often be unhealthy and may lead to overeating and problems with body weight.