Visual input alters hormonal regulation of our eating behavior

External stimuli control the hormonal regulation of our eating behavior

Max Planck researchers have proven something scientifically for the first time that laypeople have always known: the mere sight of delicious food stimulates the appetite. A study on healthy young men has documented that the amount of the neurosecretory protein hormone ghrelin in the blood increases as a result of visual stimulation through images of food. As a main regulator, ghrelin controls both eating behaviour and the physical processes involved in food metabolism. These results show that, in addition to the physiological mechanisms for maintaining the body’s energy status, environmental factors also have a specific influence on food consumption. Thus, the pervasive presence of appetising food in the media could contribute to weight increase in Western populations.

More information: Schüssler P, Kluge M, Yassouridis A, Dresler M, Uhr M, Steiger A. Ghrelin levels increase after pictures showing food Obesity (Silver Spring). 12 January 2012, doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.385 .

My comment: Obviously, the mere sight of an attractive woman could be linked to hormones that also change with arousal in healthy young men. As with food, however, there is no direct link from a visual stimulus to hormones and behavior. The hormone changes must first be conditioned to occur via the odors of the food, or via the social odors /pheromones of the woman. This conditioning of hormones and behaviors begins before we’re born, and it is not directly linked to visual input in any species on this planet.  Olfactory/pheromonal input causes the genetically predisposed response .

Author: James Kohl

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