Humans may have ‘in-built calorie counter to stop us overeating’

The new study looked at data from a 2019 study in which 20 healthy adults who were hospitalized for four weeks were given standard everyday meals, such as a chicken salad sandwich with fig bun cookies or oatmeal with blueberries and almonds.

The original study looked at ultra-processed foods and healthier options, and each meal had a known amount of calories, as well as sugar, fat, fiber, and macronutrients.

In their study, the researchers speculated that there will likely be a calorie tipping point, where a person realizes their meal is full of calories and then subconsciously decides to eat less.

Ms Flynn said: “For example, people ate smaller portions of a creamy cheese pasta dish, which is a high-energy meal, than a salad with lots of different vegetables, which is relatively low-energy.”

“Hidden complexity of how people interact with high-energy foods”

Co-author Jeff Brunstrom, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol, said: “This research adds weight to the idea that humans are not passive overeaters after all, but rather demonstrate the ability to moderate how much energy is that they consume.

“This work is particularly exciting as it reveals a hidden complexity in how people interact with modern high-energy foods, something we’ve termed ‘nutritional intelligence.’

“This tells us that we are not passively overconsuming these foods, and the reason why they are associated with obesity is more nuanced than previously thought.”

“For now, at least, this offers a fresh perspective on a long-standing topic and opens the door to a number of important new questions and avenues for future research.”

The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Humans may have ‘in-built calorie counter to stop us overeating’

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