Tired? It's likely You Will Reach for Chips, Cookies and Junk Food Treats, Says Study
If you are staying up late at night and watching TV or playing video games, chances are you're snacking as you're watching and/or playing. And there is a great likelihood that you are not snacking on fruits and veggies, but you're chomping down junk foods that turn to fat quickly, finishing off the leftover dessert pastries, like the ones above.
One reason you are likely to do this is because you are tired and your food choices aren't cogent. A recent study found that individuals who looked at pictures of high caloric treats had more brain activity in the reward centers of their brain when they only had a few hours of sleep. According to study author, Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an assistant professor at Columbia university's Institute of Human Nutrition in New York City, "The same brain regions activated when unhealthy foods were presented were not involved when we presented healthy foods."
Dr. St-Onge commented in a press release ahead of her study presentation at Sleep 2012 the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Boston. In the study she presented researchers at St. Luke's - Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University in New York 25 men and women of normal weight underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Prior to the MRI, subjects were only allowed to sleep four hours a night or they were allowed to sleep a full night up to nine hours. The scans were taken after five days of either sleep restriction or a full night's sleep.
The subjects looked at photos of healthy foods like spinach, strawberries and oatmeal and junk foods like pepperoni pizza, pastries, chips and nonfood items, like office supplies as they were being scanned. The reward activation centers of the brain lit up for the sleep deprived as they viewed the junk food indicating an attraction to those foods and likelihood they would select them to reward themselves. When individuals experienced a full 8-9 hours of sleep those pictures produced no "light up" in their brain's rewards center.Continued on the next page