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Food 'porn' holds no allure when full

Jan. 30, 2013 at 12:55 PM   |   Comments

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Canadian researchers say they can explain why enticing pictures of food -- often dubbed "food porn," affect people less when they are full.

"We've known that insulin plays a role in telling us we're satiated after eating, but the mechanism by which this happens is unclear," senior author Stephanie Borgland, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, said in a statement.

Borgland and colleagues found insulin -- prompted by a sweetened, high-fat meal -- affects the ventral tegmental area of the brain, which is responsible for reward-seeking behavior.

When insulin was applied to the ventral tegmental area in mice, they no longer gravitated towards environments where food had been offered.

"Insulin dulls the synapses in this region of the brain and decreases our interest in seeking out food, which in turn causes us to pay less attention to food-related cues," Borgland said. "There has been a lot of discussion around the environmental factors of the obesity epidemic."

Borgland said there have been fast-food advertising bans in the Canadian province of Quebec, Norway, Britain, Greece and Sweden.

"This study helps explain why pictures or other cues of food affect us less when we're satiated -- and may help inform strategies to reduce environmental triggers of overeating," Borgland said.

The findings were published online in Nature Neuroscience.

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