If you throw your New Year’s resolutions outside and still have a nice cookie with your coffee, it’s very hard to stick to just one. You think “Biscuits can’t hurt”. But before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole package. It’s especially hard to back off when you decide not to eat cookies anymore, that’s all you can think of. This is all the fault of your brain and snack.
But why is it so hard to stop after one cookie?
This yearning for more, how does that work? We get a large amount of energy every day from processed foods. These affect our eating behavior more than you’d like and that can sometimes have far-reaching consequences. When you see, smell, or taste a cookie, your brain’s reward system becomes active immediately. Hormones such as dopamine are released that make you feel good and this hormone also stimulates your appetite. That’s why we’re kind of rewarded for eating a cookie and it rarely stays with that cookie.
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You might think that this reward system was once fulfilled, for example if you are bloated and have a full stomach after an evening meal. But until then, many people can easily eat a sweet candy or (box) of biscuits. How does this work? An active reward system ensures that your body ignores the signal that you’re full and that you’ve already got enough energy from the meal. So you only eat for fun. Scientists also call this craving “pleasure hunger,” a delicious craving that arises after seeing the food that made you so happy before.
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When products contain a lot of sugars and fats, the desire to keep eating and therefore not stick to one cookie is greater. Your brain’s reward system also reacts aggressively to the combination of fat and salt, just as it does in potato chips. Or mix carbohydrates and salt. The time of day also plays a very important role. Of course, you don’t feel more like a bag of chips in the morning than during drinks time. And in the afternoon you feel like a biscuit or two or three again.
Above all else, listen to your body and do what makes you feel comfortable. Do you want to know what are the healthiest cookies in the world? Then look here.
source | research
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