But, a recent study conducted at the Oregon Research Institute reveals interesting findings on a brain chemical that seems to lead to overeating: Dopamine.
What is dopamine? Dopamine is a brain chemical that senses pleasure. For example, take a comforting food like warm apple pie. As you stuff your face with a huge bite of pie, dopamine levels are boosted giving you a satisfactory sensation.
Senior scientist, Dr. Eric Stice lead a study that suggests that dopamine levels are less active in obese individuals compared to the fit and lean.
They were all asked to sip on delicious chocolate milkshakes while a scanner studied an area of their brain called Dorsal Striatum, the pleasure center filled with dopamine.
Scientists noticed that the pleasure center was less active in the obese volunteers compared to the thinner ones.
Scientists suggest that less dopamine activity may lead to overeating.
For example, if the person’s pleasure senses are low when indulging in a milkshake, then he or she may overeat to compensate to reach the level of satisfaction.
So, how do I feel about this released study?
I find this dopamine study to be very interesting but I also feel that there are more factors that need to be researched before this conclusion is definite.
Since I have experienced being in a bigger body and overeating, I can say that I was always satisfied with my meals. I did feel a boost in my dopamine levels as I tasted all the flavor and appreciated every texture. But, only under a scanner will I really know how active my pleasure center was, compared to now.
I also had an addictive behavior and used food for comfort. I felt insecure and unworthy so every bite was a symbol of happiness.
I realized I had to battle my mind by learning how to retrain my thoughts about food. The difference between then and now, is that I enjoy eating while practicing portion control. I eat to live, not live to eat.
What are your thoughts on the study?