Why eating feels so good?

21 08 2007

Unless in some disease states, we all more or less love eating. Eating allows us to get all the nutrients our body needs to work properly, so we could say that food (and sex) is what keeps mankind going (and they’re both great). Food sometimes can taste good and some others not that good, but when you are starving ANYTHING tastes like heaven. But why?

The need to eat is initiated, in part, by a hormone known as ghrelin. Although ghrelin is known to be produced in the gut and to trigger the brain to promote eating, it remains to be determined precisely how ghrelin affects different parts of the brain.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers have shown that in mice and rats ghrelin triggers the same neurons as delicious food, sexual experience, and many recreational drugs; that is, neurons that provide the sensation of pleasure and the expectation of reward. There you have it.

The researchers have found that ghrelin bound its receptor on neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. They also observed that the infusion of ghrelin into the brain area where this neurons are located increased the food intake of rats.

Thus, this region of the brain is identified as a site of action for ghrelin to induce food intake, but is also triggered by many recreational drugs and is known to produce the expectation of reward.

Now, next time you are hungry remember ghrelin is kicking in 😉

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