Photo Credit: A. Bricco/Lifesize/Getty Images
It’s a typical scenario: You gorge until it hurts; you couldn’t possibly eat another bite; you ask the waitress who’s been circling like a vulture to box up your leftovers. So you can’t understand why she would even ask if you have room for dessert, but when she offers you the menu, you look and suddenly think, “Hmm, I’m not that full after all!” One flourless-chocolate-cake-smeared-plate later, you waddle home near tears, in desperate need of a bed and some drawstring pants.
Though you may detest yourself for hours later, wondering why you can’t eat like a regular person, turns out, your behavior is perfectly normal.
A small study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that once the body has all the calories and nutrients that it needs for survival, the brain shifts into pleasure-eating mode. Take another bite of your broccoli and your brain is all, “Meh -- been there, done that.” But dig into a slice of cheesecake and your hypothalamus starts dinging like a high-scoring pinball machine. Each and every rich, sugary bite releases feel-good chemicals that make you feel like you’re on a morphine drip. So while you may think you’re torturing yourself, you’re really just doing what feels good at the time -- like any good, dessert-whoring junkie would.
The study also points out that this cranial response to eating our favorite foods can likely lead to overeating. You don’t say? Our only hope to avoid overeating: Banish all delectable foods from our sight, and threaten to flip the table upside down if the waitress even thinks about handing us the dessert menu. (Or, maybe, just share one dessert with the whole table).