Craving carbs? Blame your brain, Japan study finds

Under pressure and gobbling pizza or chocolate? It may not be your fault, according to Japanese researchers who have isolated the neurons that drive a craving for carbs.

The team at Japan’s National Institute for Physiological Sciences found that activating neurons known to respond to social stress increased the appetite in mice for carbohydrates.

Rodents with the neurons activated ate high-carbohydrate food at a rate of three times the mice under normal conditions.

They also roughly halved their intake of high-fat food, the study found.

The research is the first to demonstrate the way that the brain plays a role in the preference for carbohydrates or fats, said Yasuhiko Minokoshi, a scientist at the institute, who led the study.

The teams said the study could help find a way to shift people away from gorging on sugary treats or unhealthy junk food.

Humans generally select what to eat based on taste, as well as the nutritional state of the body, but the exact mechanism involved in the selection has remained largely a mystery.

“Many people who eat sweets too much when stressed tend to blame themselves for being unable to control their impulses,” Minokoshi told AFP.

“But if they know it’s because of the neurons”, they might not be so hard on themselves, he said.

Minokoshi cautioned that it would be difficult to immediately apply the findings to improving human diets.

Simply suppressing the neurons could trigger side effects, as they have many other important roles, he said.

“However, if we could find a particular molecule in the neurons and target it specifically to suppress part of its activities, it could curb excessive eating of carbohydrate-heavy food,” he said.

On the other hand, a substance to activate it could be used to treat people who consume excessive fat.

The study is to be published in the online edition of the US journal Cell Reports soon.

Many researchers suspect a certain mechanism could be responsible for prompting some animals to choose high-protein food, but a definitive process has not yet been discovered.

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  1. Avatar Ni mimi! May 1st, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Way to go…..

  2. Avatar shalom May 1st, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Show Kindness and same will be shown

  3. Avatar Sarah Smith May 1st, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    May God bless you our President. I hope the other Kenyan leaders are watching to follow your example. Can you imagine if all the leaders including the MPs did the same ?. Many lives will be transformed.

  4. Avatar Alexander Omondi May 2nd, 2013 at 8:09 am

    This is our President..YES..the kind of president Kenya who symphathizes ,empathizes and has human feeling and heart for even the most unpriviledged in the society..God Bless Uhuru.

  5. Avatar Mazzdark May 2nd, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Uhuru Kenyatta has got heart, good leaders have heart

  6. Avatar Reginah May 2nd, 2013 at 11:19 am

    President Uhuru kenyatta, u shall never seize to amaze me! U have a heart of gold.

    How you are able to dine and wine with your enemies i do not know.

    I remember all the bad words the cord leadership called you in your campaign you acted with decorum and integrity.. you did not return those words back, i remember the climax of it they told you that you should be kojwang cook, and how did u act? you told them decently that even that is work. After the election and before the petition they told you that you deserve to be in jail and not in state house and you still acted well and left them alone to keep making noise. What did i see next to my shock and surprise? I saw our dear president reach out to cord leadership and hand in hand walking together in okuta’s burial. after all what this people have done and said to our president.

    Lately i watched i amazement our president go to coast which is a cord stronghold and all the the coast leaders led by governor Joho publicly declared that they will not attend the function our president was attending in there region, Guess what i saw the next day?

    Our dear president hand in hand Omar and hearty laughing in state house. Having know what role some of the people played in the icc coaching of witness.

    President Uhuru may God bless you abundantly fill you wisdom and cover you with his precious blood and give a very long and happy life, you are one in a million , you have a heart of gold. This is a great lesson to me as i don’t forgive easily to always let go.

    Thank u again and God bless you.

    1. Avatar Idris May 2nd, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Which enemies! Just coz they come from certain communities does not mean that they voted for CORD. I hail from the same community and yet I did not vote for CORD. In any case different political affiliations dont necessarily make us enemies. Lets shed off the tribal tag for a moment and move on Reginah. Meanwhile hongera our President!

    2. Avatar Mike May 3rd, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      What rubbish is this? Are you the kind of person who will only be charitable to your own tribe?

  7. Avatar Nairobi gal May 2nd, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    When some of us said UK was a God gift to Kenya and that he was anointed by God, i can remember the kind of words that were exchanged. Now I guess most of us kinda believe abt that. Some things just don happen from the blues… this Otonglo guy was not even the number one in the festivals … but look where God has placed him, for non-believers just know this- there are no coincidences in God’s working and it never matters who he is gonna use to get to you.. It stands a a testimony to most people, whether you benefit directly or not at all. Kudos to Mr. Prezzo, esp on that bit of taking him for a tour yourself!!! Is this a president or some kind of an angel…you made them feel so comfy they didn’t even need to go look for clothes to impress you… I saw the shoes the mum and sis had…and i thot… i never need smart shoes to walk on that carpet!

  8. Avatar martin May 2nd, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    God bless you Mr. President…

  9. Avatar Pastor Mutua May 2nd, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Other leaders should follow suit, we have so many young men and women just like this guy who don’t have basic needs, their leaving condition are not suitable. As we praise the President for his kindness we should urge others to follow his footsteps to change the destiny of the young ones. I believe that whatever we instill in our young ones today will determine how they will turnout in the future, whether good or bad. what we are witnessing now from our President is what was instill in him by his parents at a tender age. therefore if we want good governance in our society lets instill good moral. after all whatever you plant today is what you harvest tomorrow!

  10. Avatar mary May 2nd, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Mr president, you are the man we have always trusted God for. May God give you wisdom to lead this Nation and bring hope to many

  11. Avatar EMELDAH KASH May 9th, 2013 at 10:28 am

    You were born to be a president,you show it all


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