Thursday, August 2, 2012


Here is a theory that floats the idea that every human being has a definitive "reservoir" of self control which can be exhausted if too much effort is made to repeatedly control eating tendencies vis-a-vis highly palatable foods like sweets and other cravings. How far this theory is supported by scientific evidence is some thing subject to interpretation of some MRS scanning studies carried out by psychologists. Here is a gist of the report published in a reputed periodical that reveals the complex working of human brain when it comes to deciding about the food that is to be eaten.   

"Ever wonder why you worked so hard to avoid the lasagna at dinner only to give in to your craving for not one but two helpings of cake for dessert? Well, new research may hold some answers to this vexing question. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology confirms what we've been - what we've known for some time, and that is each of us has an internal reservoir of self-control. We have a reservoir of self-control that it depletes. Every time we resist a temptation, we use a little bit of it up. But for the first time, researchers have taken pictures of the brain to show what was happening when a person exerts and then loses self-control. Dr. William Hedgcock was a co-author of the study. He is a neuroscientist and assistant professor of marketing at the University of Iowa. He joins us from Denver".

The views expressed by the scientists need further elaboration and unless there are concrete  data that support the basis of the above findings, using it for modifying human response to foods cannot be accomplished. If there are some ways human brain can be influenced it should be possible to evoke responses that will enable exercise of more self control on food choices. It is true that temptation to gorge sugar rich foods and high fat products is too difficult to control and in spite of enormous data accumulating over the yeas about the ill effects of over consumption of foods, especially calorie rich products, a substantial segment of the population find it impossible to curb consumption probably due to the fast depletion of their "internal reservoir of self control" in an environment of abundance of rich foods. The result is there for all to see in the form of rampant obesity all around. It is possible that these findings may support the efforts of social activists to restrain the food industry from flooding the market with unhealthy foods that stimulate the palate and provide an environment that does not seriously challenge the self control reservoir embedded in the brains of each individual.  


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