Eating in a hurry, during watching a film, or during doing something else – nowadays, everything disturbs us from consumption. It occurs that it's quite serious problem. When we don't concentrate on food, our brain is not that effective in registering the fact that we have already supplied some dose of energy. As a result, we may be hungry again within a short period of time. What's more, we may not even remember eating anything. Introducing sweet flavour may be significant here.
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Constant “lack of time”
We tend to do more things in a hurry nowadays, because we want to spend each moment effectively. Unfortunately, it occurs, that it's not neutral for our health, or... shape. The great example here is food: if we decide to eat meals in the middle of doing something else, or when in movement, it fosters gathering spare fat. Which mechanism is responsible for that? The conditioning is diversified, but so-called “episodic memory” is of large importance in this phenomenon. One thing is certain, the consumption of food when our attention is disturbed, makes us eat more in that time, or we become hungry faster and we eat more next time.
Magic power of “sweets”
Although it may seem surprising, sweet flavour may cause that we will control hunger better. At least, that's the result of preliminary research. Frankly speaking, if we eat something sweet, we will “remember” it better, than when we eat something without that flavour. The mechanism of this dependency is very complex and concerns the “episodic memory”, which is conditioned by the expression of synaptic plasticity marker – ARC protein (activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein) – in hippocampus. That's the area of the brain, along with this protein, which are responsible for that specific kind of memory. In practise, a memory triggered this way may reveal in a situation when we want to eat something.
A dietitian's comment
It's easy to draw premature conclusions from the observations mentioned above, which would lead to the statement, that we will control hunger better if we snack sweets. Well, in practise it's not that way, because, of course, the mechanisms which control the choice of food are more complex and do not depend only on the episodic memory. They are also dependent on the energy supply, the amount of specific macro nutrients, as well as the texture and volume of the food, or other circumstances connected with e.g. emotional conditioning. For example, if the meal is small and poor in protein, even if it is sweet – it will be unsatisfactory and may cause further consumption. However, the observed dependency may be used in some way.
In practise, dishes may be “crowned” with sweet accent, e.g. a portion of fruits. In other words, a dessert in a form of a mandarine or apple eaten after consuming a sandwich with meat and vegetables, or other dish, may cause our brain remember “better” that we have already eaten something and, therefore, we will feel the need of eating another meal a bit later.