A recent study by researchers at the University of Kansas published in the journal Appetite highlighted the link between consumption of highly palatable foods and the risk of weight gain and obesity.
The study adds another layer of concern as it also contains findings about infants’ exposure rates to such foods.
All-you-can-eat buffet experiment
In a fascinating real-world experiment, young adults without obesity were offered a meal at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Their food choices were categorized into energy-dense foods, highly processed foods, and over-tasting foods.
A year later, researchers led by Tera Fazzino then tracked the participants’ weight change and body fat percentage.
The study found that those who chose higher levels of carbohydrate and sodium containing foods (CSOD), such as popcorn or pretzels, experienced a significant increase in weight and body fat a year later.
Surprisingly, this result was not observed among those who consumed high levels of foods containing fat and sodium, energy-dense foods, and highly processed foods.
According to Fazzino, focusing on the rewarding properties of food rather than satisfying physiological hunger is called “hedonic eating.”
People who tend to consume over-digestible carbohydrate and sodium foods are at higher risk of weight and body fat gain.
The startling revelation about baby food
Complementing her previous research, Fazzino also examined infants’ exposure rates to hypersensitive foods.
A staggering 90% of the 147 babies in the study received such foods, largely because they were fed adult formula. 12% of foods marketed as “baby food” were also classified as hypersensitive.
According to Fazzino, early exposure to hypersensitive foods could set the stage for harmful eating habits later in life.
Such foods, similar to some drugs, can activate the brain’s neural reward circuits, making these types of foods more tempting as the child grows.
The prevalence of highly palatable foods in the American food system makes this a significant public health problem.
Recommendations and implications
The study advises parents to be careful about the adult foods they offer their babies as this could be a major reason for their early exposure to overpalatable foods.
Research suggests that both individual and systemic changes are needed, including possible regulatory measures to limit the availability and marketing of highly palatable foods, particularly to vulnerable populations such as children.
This study serves as a wake-up call for parents, healthcare providers and policy makers.
While individual choices are critical, the ubiquitous availability of highly palatable foods complicates the picture, making it critical to consider both personal and environmental factors when combating the obesity epidemic.
The findings highlight the importance of early intervention and awareness to reduce the risk of developing unhealthy eating habits and obesity later in life.
If you are interested in obesity, please read studies about: Scientists find two main causes of obesity and results: Eating fewer than three meals a day may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
For more information about obesity and health, see studies on berries that may help prevent diabetes, obesity and cancer, and new drugs to treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
The research results can be found in appetite.
follow us on Twitter for more articles on this topic.
Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.