It may appear counterintuitive but including a little bit of sweets in your meal could help you stop gaining unhealthy weight, new research suggests.
Eating sweet foods causes the brain to form a memory of a meal and this memory can help you better control eating habits, the researchers explained. Neurons in the dorsal hippocampus, the part of the brain that is critical for episodic memory, are activated by consuming sweets, the study said. Episodic memory is the memory of autobiographical events experienced at a particular time and place. “We think that episodic memory can be used to control eating behaviour,” said one of the researchers Marise Parent, professor at Georgia State University in the US.
Studies have found that increased snacking is correlated positively with obesity, and obese individuals snack more frequently than people who aren’t obese. To understand energy regulation and the causes of obesity, scientists must consider how the brain controls meal onset and frequency, Parent said. In the current study, a meal consisting of a sweetened solution, either sucrose or saccharin, significantly increased the expression of synaptic plasticity in dorsal hippocampal neurons in rats.
Synaptic plasticity is a process that is necessary for making memories. The findings were published online in the journal Hippocampus.