Feeling Drawn to Chocolate Cake? Nature, Not Your Sweet Tooth, May Be to Blame

January 27, 2016 | By | Comments (0)

Photo: Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images

Why is it that when both a piece of chocolate cake and an apple are placed in front of us we almost always go for the cake? And, when and if we actually pick up the apple, we’re still secretly wishing it was the cake? Honestly ask yourself if you know anyone who genuinely prefers the apple over the cake. If you know such a person, give them a gold star.

For the rest of us, we have to practice some serious self control. Why? Why are we more likely to reach for these highly caloric, often processed foods even if we know they aren’t the healthiest option? Here’s some good news (kind of) that can help you let yourself off the hook a little bit. A new study from Brain and Cognition actually suggests that is completely normal. In fact,  we are ALL distracted so much by food that it “induces motor-distractibility” (a.k.a. reaching towards the foods). Sigh.

The study also suggests that even if a person thinks these kinds of foods are terrible and should never be a part of one’s diet, they too are more inclined to reach. That’s because the more you think of something as a “threat,” the more likely you are to grab it. Double sigh.

But do you want to know the most interesting fact about this study? The fact that BMI doesn’t even matter one bit. We’re all in this together.

This study helps illustrate why it’s so hard to stay on a really strict diet, and why it often fails. Balance is everything, and eating a piece of cake (or even just a bite) will really do wonders for helping you feel satisfied while dieting.

See more from Dr. Christian Jarrett (@Psych_Writer) on the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest blog

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