Why You `just can’t help yourself’ When It Comes To Cake

Have you ever said,`I just can't help myself' when it comes to good food and snacking?  According to a new study published in the July issue of The International Journal Of Obesity, there's a clinical reason for it.  Some women are more likely to respond to the sight and smell of food. University of Bristol graduate student Danielle Ferriday and her faculty advisor, Dr. Jeffrey Brunstrom exposed 52 normal weight women and 52 overweight women to the sight and smell of a hot pizza for 60 seconds before they were allowed to dig in.  Consistent with previous studies, food-cue exposure increased rated hunger and desire to eat, increased prospective portion size of all savory foods, and increased salivation.

In non-science speak what this means is that although the overweight participants salivated about 1/3 more than usual once they saw and smelled the pizza and may have piled more on their plate, they didn’t necessarily eat more.  The temptation to chow down was due to a heightened sensitivity to food cues like sight and smell.  Trouble is, this sensitivity may encourage snacking and other bad eating habits associated with weight gain and being overweight.

The study didn’t answer whether they are any hereditary factors in the behavior or whether its simply habits learned and developed that can be changed over time.