Why We Can’t Resist Fatty Foods

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to eat just one chip or a single fry?

Written by: Cielestia Calbay

UC Irvine researchers found that the fats in these foods trigger a natural chemical in our bodies called endocannabinoids that make fries and chips irresistible, and likely drive our gluttonous behavior as well.

The endocannabinoid system is a group of lipids and their receptors that regulate appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory.

The team examined rats that tasted something fatty and found that the cells in their upper gut started producing endocannbinoids. However, sugars and protein did not have this effect.

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports the trigger process starts on the tongue where fats in food relay a signal that travels to the brain, then to a nerve bundle, and then to the intestines. There, that signal stimulates the production of endoccannabinoids, which prompt the intake of fatty foods. Researchers said the release of this chemical was linked to hunger and compels us to eat more.

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