Skip to content


See cream cakes, want cream cakes

After a long blogging absence, I am delighted to re-enter the fray with this week’s prize for the statement of the bleeding obvious.

And wouldn’t you know, it involves research on diet.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) – brain scans to you and me – University of Southern California researchers measured the responses of the brains of 13 obese Hispanic young women aged between 15 and 25. And what they discovered was, when the women looked at pictures of cakes, biscuits and hamburgers, they felt more hungry than when they looked at pictures of fruit and vegetables. No kidding?

Forgive me, but I don’t need a researcher to tell me that, when I look at a picture of someone scoffing their face with a Magnum Classic, that I’ll suddenly want one too (whether that has anything to do with hunger or just plain greediness, you be the judge). But, er, isn’t that how advertising works? Especially if you’re the type of person who likes Magnum Classics. And let’s face it, all the photographs of raw carrots in the world aren’t going to make many people crave them – in the Western world, that is. Unless of course you’re really weird.

Interestingly, they gave the women 50g of glucose or fructose in liquid form half way through the tests, and found this only increased their cravings (apparently the fructose stimulated their hunger more than the glucose – though what that actually indicates, please don’t ask me).

The question is, do our brains behave like an advertiser’s dream because of our environment or because of our genes?

I really don’t know. All I do know is that I’m madly craving ice cream now. Damn this brain.

Posted in Uncategorized.