Your vocabulary may be making you fat, according to a new study. The research, conducted by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and The Obesity Society, claims to have found that hearing certain words makes us reach for unhealthy food, the Mirror reported.
Study leader Susan Carnell said that the study found that individuals with obesity had a stronger response to words associated with high-calorie foods – such as chocolate spread and chicken wings – in a widespread neural circuit spanning multiple areas of the brain.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Carnel added that when they subjected individuals to a combined social and physiological stressor, both individuals with obesity and those of normal weight showed slightly altered responses to high-calorie food words, but only those with obesity ate more at a subsequent meal.
This suggests obese people respond to food cues differently to lean people, which could lead them to eat more.
In the second study, Carnell and colleagues found a link between responses to food words and obesity risk in teens with genetic variants that increase the risk of obesity.
The study provides additional insight into how these particular obesity-associated genetic variants may be working – by increasing appetite and food intake, research coordinator Leora Benson said.