Topics

Human Interest
Losing weight: Tempting foods promise a reward they can't deliver
Losing weight: Tempting foods promise a reward they can't deliver

Picture potato chips or chocolate — or any food you feel you can't resist. Chances are, your brain associates this food with a promise of happiness, says Kelly McGonigal, psychology instructor at Stanford University. But foods we have little control around act like the elusive carrot on a stick: The more we eat, the more we want. We never feel we have enough because the promise of reward is always in front of us — if only we eat one more, then another, and soon we're left with crumbs at the bottom of the bag. Yet the longing remains. We can blame this phenomenon on our brain's reward system. The sight and smell of an irresistible food causes the brain to...

Loading