What's more, blood tests revealed that when participants ate their favorite food, their blood levels of the hormone ghrelin increased significantly and stayed high for as much as two hours.
By contrast, ghrelin levels went progressively down after eating the nutritionally equivalent but unappetizing item.
Levels of the compound 2-AG decreased after eating both the favorite and the unappetizing foods. However, 2-AG levels remained much higher (for up to two hours) following both exposure to and consumption of a favorite food, relative to levels registered for the non-favorite food.
"The physiological process underlying hedonic eating is not fully understood," Monteleone said in a journal news release. But he suggested that "understanding the physiological mechanisms underlying this eating behavior may shed some light on the obesity epidemic."
For more on obesity, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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