Ever hear of the expression "follow your gut feeling?" As it turns out, scientists have found a way to literally follow what your gut is feeling.
With obesity is an increasing problem, the simple thing to do is to watch what we eat and reduce it. But that may be easier said than done.
Because of this, a group of scientists from the Imperial College London and GlaxoSmithKline worked together to control our cravings.
Waljit Dhilio, from the Imperial College, said that as lunchtime approaches, our brains get excited in anticipation of the meal. After eating, the same foods that seemed so tempting to us at the beginning because of hunger lose their sway.
This made the scientists study two gut hormones - peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide 1 - that play key roles in the feeling of being full, both of which are released into the body after we eat.
Based on their study, people who were given one or both of the hormones were found to have reduced food intake and appetite.
To find out what those hormones do to the brain, Dhilio's team of scientists, along with GlaxoSmithKline, measured the brain activity of healthy people who were given the hormones while fasting. They then compared the brain activity of those who were given hormones when full from eating a meal.
"Participants had eaten no breakfast, but the pattern of their brain activity looked as if they had," said Dhilio.
"Their brain was tricked and they subsequently ate less of a buffet meal."
Dhilio explained that after a meal, people's brains responded less to images of food in regions related to food reward, and they ate less. The same thing happened to the brains and behaviors of the hungry people who were given the two hormones.
Through these findings, they concluded that the two hormones can reduce appetite. Scientists hope that it can lead to a useful treatment for obesity in the future.