Navigation

Brains guess how much fat in food

The human brain needs only milliseconds to assess the nutritional content of a food item, even if it's only an image.

This content was published on January 26, 2009 - 12:09

Scientists from four institutions, including Lausanne University and the Nestlé Research Centre, found it takes about 200 milliseconds for the brain to discriminate between high- and low-fat foods.

According to a study to be published in the journal NeuroImage on February 1, scientists presented healthy adults with pictures of foods and non-foods. They used brain-imaging equipment to monitor how the adults reacted.

The food images were secretly divided up into high- and low-fat foods, and the brain reacted differently to each. Pictures of high-fat foods stimulated areas of the brain that handle decision-making and reward potential more strongly than low-fat foods did.

Micah Murray, a neuroscientist and leader of the study, said this suggests that the brain can rapidly assess the nutritional value of food items by using the same regions that handle categorization.

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: community-feedback@swissinfo.ch

Comments under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at english@swissinfo.ch.

Share this story

Join the conversation!

With a SWI account, you have the opportunity to contribute on our website.

You can Login or register here.