Craving vs. Control: Understanding the Power of Food

This content is brought to you by the AXA Research Fund.

Dr. Esther Aarts, AXA Research Fellow, investigates the mysterious motivation behind irrational and risky eating behaviors, and new ways to curb our dangerous appetites.

As I see the global obesity epidemic, I am fascinated by why some people can resist the temptation of high calorie foods, while others can’t. Why do so many of us keep eating long after we’re full? What’s going on in the deep reward response regions of our brain when we see candy, french fries, hamburgers?

My research aims to unravel the individual differences that cause some of us to reach for more, and others to hold back. Beyond that, I’m looking for solutions—what treatment works best for who, and why? Imagine what we can do with that understanding. We could personalize strategies to help curb runaway appetites. Prevent obesity in the first place. Reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease, even some cancers. Are you wired to resist, or indulge?

Read More from the AXA Research Fund.

This content is provided by a sponsor. It was not written by our editorial staff, nor does it necessarily reflect the editorial views of National Geographic.

Read This Next

The science behind seasonal depression
These 3,000-year-old relics were torched and buried—but why?
How the Holocaust happened in plain sight

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet