The Brain Chemistry Factor
JT: How does our brain chemistry come into play?
DK: Our brain is the command center of an elaborate communication system. It encourages us to seek out pleasurable things – food being one of them.
Palatability refers to how food engages our senses. Is it cold? Creamy? Does it smell good, and does it taste good? Usually, the most palatable foods contain layer upon layer of fat, sugar and salt. The combination of these factors can and do stimulate the neurons, which are the basic cells in the brain. The brain responds to these highly palatable, rewarding and pleasurable foods by firing electrical signals and releasing brain neurons that are encoded with 'palatability.'
Our brains are being excessively activated – bombarded throughout the day - by food cues. Food cues include the actual food we eat, as well as external cues such as anchors to time of day, location, sound and sight. These cues activate the brain, grab its attention, arousal sets in and it drives consumption.