Research presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society shows that seeing high-calorie items stimulates the appetite control center, which then makes us crave food.
The finding applies to everyone, considering "the current environment is inundated with advertisements showing images of high-calorie foods," study researcher Dr. Kathleen Page, M.D., an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, said in a statement.
The study included fMRI brain scans of 13 young Latina women who are obese. The researchers said they chose this demographic to be participants because they have a higher risk of obesity.
The researchers showed each woman photos of a high-calorie foods and low-calorie foods, and then non-foods. After looking at each category of photo, the women were asked to rate how hungry they were for sweet or savory food items.
The researchers found that after looking at the high-calorie food photos, the study participants' brain regions linked with appetite were activated. Meanwhile, these regions were not activated when they looked at the photos of non-food items. Looking at the pictures of the high-calorie foods was also linked with a greater reporting of craving sweet and salty foods.
From the July 2, 2012, Prepared Foods Daily News