Why Dessert Makes You So Happy

Why Dessert Makes You So Happy


I still remember it… I dipped the tines
of a fork into the chocolate mousse. A tiny bit of the dessert hung from the ends of my
utensil, only a few millimeters, but I put it in my mouth and BANG. The flavor! The richness!
I’ll never forget that moment, and now science knows why!
Hey, sweeties. A 2013 survey of eating behavior found snacks
are contributing more and more to the American diet. But, a 2014 study in Hepatology found
snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods in-between meals contributes to obesity and
fatty liver! Eating three meals a day has roots back to ancient Greece — and snacking
between those meals can be unhealthy, especially when people completely forget about their
meals in the first place. “How could you forget a meal,” you cry! Simple. You’re eating wrong. When we eat certain things or in certain ways,
our brains create ‘food memories,’ which live in our episodic memory. Episodic memory is
part of long-term memory storage, part of the everyday autobiography of our lives. Episodic
memories can be recalled at will, and are things like your wedding day and where you
were on 9/11, or maybe that great joke you shared with your roommate in college, a car
crash, or when you climbed that mountain, bungee jumped, or your first kiss! According to a new study in the journal Hippocampus,
eating sweet foods triggers that episodic memory; and let me tell you, that chocolate
mousse was a moment! The researchers believe episodic memory could be used to control eating
habits, because when people eat absentmindedly, while watching TV or reading, they don’t form
food memories, and we eat more than we should, or eat more often — or we snack between meals. A study in PLOS One from 2012 describes why
this is: feeling hungry isn’t just physical, it’s also mental! They wanted to see if our
perception of how much we ate changes how we feel about when we eat again! Their study
showed people specific amounts of soup 300 mL or 500mL and
then, while they ate, covertly sucked soup out of the participants bowls, or added some
in! Basically, people who thought they ate 500mL (but actually ate less) still felt fuller!
Whereas those who thought they’d eaten 300mL (but had actually eaten more) got hungry more
quickly. We humans are big dumb animals, aren’t we! Our perceptions and our episodic ‘food
memories’ have a huge impact on how and when we eat and how hungry we feel. So when you say, “no thanks, I had a big breakfast”
according to these researchers from Hippocampus, you are actually recalling your last episodic
‘food memory’ and determining if you’re hungry! Why do sweets trigger this? I’m no evolutionary
psychologist, but I’d guess it has something to do with finding sugar in a natural environment
being a rarity — similarly to our affinity for salts and fats. So if creating a solid memory of a meal, will
help us eat LESS, should we just eat a sweet and remember we ate? Not necessarily. The
researchers are using this as a platform for further research on episodic memory and proteins,
fats and carbohydrates. If you’re looking for guidance while they complete their research,
simply be mindful of your eating habits. Research from 2011 in the journal Appetite
found, when people were offered cookies, those who were asked to think about the flavor,
texture and smell of their food ate fewer than those who were reading, and way less
than those who were watching television. And when offered more later, the television group
ate more than the group who were asked to consider their meals. Nailing it home even
more, the lead researcher on this study added the example of amnesic patients. They can’t
remember what they’ve just eaten, so if you bring them more food “they will keep on eating!” So, perhaps the key to forming a ‘food memory’
is to pay attention while eating, so you form solid “food memories.” Then you’ll feel fuller,
eat less and manage a healthy diet. And maybe end your meal with a tiny little sweet. Just
a little one. Maybe. What’s your favorite dessert? Tell me in the
comments. I love pecan pie. It’s… OMG so good.

80 thoughts on “Why Dessert Makes You So Happy

  1. There are three comments in this chain 3+4=7 7+9=16
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  2. Favorite dessert is a slice of almond cheesecake with lots of Saskatoon berry compote (service berries, I believe for you americans)

  3. I'm not much for desserts but I know Hitler was. He didn't eat meat but had sweet cakes and stinking mass murders out of sight. I'm not overly interested in cookies, sweet bread, ice-cream. Chocolate and dried fruit is ok.

  4. Well I'm probably living a life which won't get hurt lacking stupid clickbait. NASA's channels are very much more what I was looking for when I subscribed here so I'll be fine.

  5. One of my favorite deserts/snacks is chocolate chip cookies especially the ones from the Double Tree hotel. 🙂

    They taste so good when they are bake fresh everyday!

  6. I've eaten almost 300g of Nutella❤ while watching this video…. Should I say something more about my favorite food? 😂

  7. I thought it was going to be about the reward circuit in our brains, as fatty foods and sweets boost the Dopamine production while consuming.

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    read the second word in each sentence

  9. I'm glad you spoke about food memories, I involuntarily get food memories I can remember the smell,taste and texture of a meal…I go by the three meals a day ethos I sometimes have a sweet straight after but I don't snack through the day.

  10. "No thanks, I had a big breakfast." I only say that if I filled myself til I was bloated and am not hungry for lunch. Why would I need to remember something that happened earlier if I am currently full?

  11. our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
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  12. +DNews Could you please do a video to simplify car engine oil and what is the ideal Oil for Cars, Pickup Trucks, and SUV/ Jeeps in Canada (cold weather) and USA (warmer weather)?

  13. Pecan pie is great. I love pineapple upsidedown cake. And remember that scene with all the imagined sweets from Hook?!

  14. Aren't artificial sweeteners worse for you, though? Your brain registers something sweet, which usually means sugar, which means insulin is released, but since you haven't actually had sugar, you have high levels of insulin and low levels of blood sugar…which causes hunger, making you want to eat more.

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