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Do Commercials Make You Want to Eat Junk Food?

man and his cheeseburger watching television
George Doyle, Getty Images

One of the issues watching late night television is having your stomach seduced by munchie-inducing fast food advertisements that ultimately lead to a wicked appetite for destruction – of your waistline.

While most of us commoners might not know exactly why it is that we are driven to stuff our faces full of things like cheeseburgers, tacos and pizza after the midnight hour, researchers from the University of Queensland believe that they may have the answer.

Dr. Natalie Loxton and student Samantha Byrne recently conducted a study to analyze why some people fall susceptible to the perils of those evil junk food television transmissions, which have a tendency to lead to overeating and weight gain.

“We tested whether reward-sensitive individuals would experience greater pleasure and urge to eat after watching TV commercials featuring junk food, compared with those featuring healthy food or no food,” Dr. Loxton said.

The study consisted of 75 men and women who were instructed to watch a 30-minute film full of junk food, health food and no food featured commercials, and then asked to rate the appeal of the food images followed by describing their cravings, if any, to get something to eat.

What Dr. Loxton found was that reward sensitivity did in fact have a direct correlation with an amplified fondness of junk food, but only in women. There were absolutely no effects of reward sensitivity in displaying images of healthy food and non-food items.

Researchers have concluded that high reward sensitive individuals, who appear to be most people, are essentially doomed by those late night junk food taunts.

On the flip side, advertising appears to be working extremely well.

[Medical Daily]

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