Pleasure, Brain Pain, and Food Desire

October 20, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Pleasure, Brain Pain, and Food Desire
Dopamine is an important nerve transmitter involved with reward. It is released when you eat, so that you know eating is good and thus you will survive. Some individuals don't release a normal amount, thus they eat more to get the same feeling of satisfaction that someone else gets eating less food. A new study with advanced brain imaging1 while milkshakes were being consumed has proved this point.

I should point out that stress creates “brain pain” to a greater or lesser degree. Of course, a quick fix is a pleasure burst of dopamine. Just about everyone knows you can get such a pleasure burst from eating almost anything. Stress eating is rooted too much brain pain and the consequent addiction to get a food fix to solve the feelings. This problem would be far worse if a person has a genetic issue and is not able to make dopamine at the proper rate in the first place.

Proteins like red meat, chicken, turkey, cheese and dairy contain the amino acid tyrosine which is needed for dopamine production. Nutrients like pantethine, acetyl-l-carnitine, and carnosine assist your nerves to better manage stress, helping to reduce the urge in the first place.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Pleasure, Dopamine, and Food Intake  Science  E. Stice, S. Spoor, C. Bohon, and D. M. Small.

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