If we all craved cucumbers instead of cake, losing weight would be easy. Sure, once upon a time nourishment was scarce, so it was useful for the brain’s reward system to light up at the thought of food — especially high-calorie food. But research now suggests that crossed wires in this system can lead to obesity and may even be what keeps us from losing weight.
To make matters even more difficult, today’s food environment bombards us with highly palatable but nutrient-poor foods that are all too easy to overeat, which conditions our brains to preferentially seek them out over more nutrient-rich foods. “I’ve spoken with many parents who tell me that their children simply won’t eat vegetables, but they make this determination after ‘pushing’ broccoli on the child twice. Two tries are simply not enough. Their latent broccoli-loving taste buds are not getting a fair shot.”