Photo by Dejan Stanic Micko
Photo by Dejan Stanic Micko

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?

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