When faced with their favourite foods, women are less able than men to suppress their hunger, according to a new study from Brookhaven National Laboratory.
To investigate how the brain controls food intake, researchers performed brain scans on 13 women and 10 men who had fasted overnight and were then presented with their favourite foods.
Both the men and women were taught technique called cognitive inhibition to help them suppress thoughts of hunger and eating while looking at pizza, cinnamon buns, burgers, chocolate cake and other favourite foods.
Though the inhibition technique worked to decrease hunger in both genders, the brain scans showed that men's brains decreased in activity in response to the tempting foods while the women's brains stayed active.
This finding may explain why it's harder for women to resist the temptation to eat appealing foods. It may also explain the higher obesity rate among women, says the director of the National Institute on Drug Addiction and co-author of this report.
In 2002, a survey from Health Canada reported that 28 percent of Canadian women went from being overweight to obese compared with 20 percent of overweight men becoming obese during the same time period.
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This study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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