Thursday, March 8, 2007

I Want It, I Like It, Give It To Me. Now.

My pleasure hot spot is bread. Or would it be cheesecake? Or ice cream?

We've all heard that cravings--particularly carb cravings, it seems, for many of us--are an addiction with a powerful psychological component to them.

It may all be in our heads--but it seems to be hardwired, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan.

According to the study, what we want (cheesecake) and what we like (cheesecake) are urges controlled by different brain circuits. When we both want and like something, there's a double-trouble effect that creates brain "pleasure hotspots" that make us want to eat more of the sweet food, and then to enjoy it more when we eat more.

The same circuits apply to people addicted to drugs, sex or gambling.

"We typically want what we like, and like what we want," said researcher Kyle Smith. "But these results suggest that wanting and liking are processed by distinct brain circuits and may not always go hand-in-hand."

So now I'm trying to think of something I like but don't want. A wool coat, maybe. I like them but why would I need one in New Orleans? Something I like in terms of food but i don't want. Well, I like watermelon but don't particularly want any right now.

The problem is when there's something we always like and always want. Watermelon falls in a whole different food category than, say, Blue Bell Banana Pudding Ice Cream or pralines. Want 'em, like 'em, but don't even get me started on them. Once I start, move outta my way.

Which is why sugar addicts need to stay away from the sweet stuff.

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