Researchers have studied babies’ reactions to yummy foods. Photograph: Alamy
Researchers believe that liking food and craving it are different things – meaning our brains are more sophisticated than previously thought when it comes to making us eat certain things.
“…What precisely do we mean when we talk about rewards in the brain? Rewards are when neurochemicals make us feel good in response to a stimulus and, says Kent Berridge at Michigan University, go back for more, or work to obtain more….our conscious minds can overrule what the reward system (of which we have little or no awareness) and our taste buds (of which we are keenly aware) are telling us. Alcohol and coffee taste like hellfire at first, but when motivated by peer pressure, or aspirations to be grown up, we persist, and eventually learn to like and want them…If dopamine triggers wanting, then what produces liking? Hard drugs, that’s what. Two types of brain chemical are released when we enjoy a food: opiates such as endorphin and enkephalin, along with what Berridge describes as “natural marijuana compounds called endocannabinoids”….One key use for this knowledge is in understanding binge eating, obesity and addiction. “Some things,” says Berridge, “can enhance or amplify the dopamine system.”
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Interesting post on how science is starting to shade light on the cerebral chemical process involved with desire and pleasure. Scientific progress may help us understand how and when the brain produces certain chemicals. We may then be able to modify those levels with the help of medication but also through mental work, psychotherapy and in particular with the use of hypnosis through hypnotherapy. If it is true that “our conscious minds can overrule what the reward system (of which we have little or no awareness) and our taste buds (of which we are keenly aware) are telling us”; in a similar way we may be able to deliberately train our mind to develop pleasure for nutrients and/or anything which may be positive for our well being.