According to research published in the journal Cell Metabolism, foods high in fats and carbohydrates are key to keeping our brains satisfied. And that includes our beloved burrito.
In the study, scientists began by assembling a collection of pictures of snacks, representing one of three categories: Fat, carbohydrate, or fat plus carbohydrate.
Participants rated the snacks on “liking, familiarity, estimated energy density, and total calories.” On a different day, after fasting for a period, they were fed a breakfast of orange juice, cheddar cheese, whole-wheat toast, white toast, strawberry jam, and butter.
Three hours after eating, they were asked to bid between zero and five euros against a computer on the snacks they had previously rated.
During this activity, they were hooked up to an fMRI scanner, allowing researchers to analyse their brain activity as they bid on items.
Results proved interesting. Firstly, they were willing to pay more for the high fat and high carb snacks than for snacks that were primarily one or the other.
Secondly, the reward centres of the brain were triggered as a result of the snacks in the fats plus carbs category than other options, even including the favourite go-to options of the participants.
These results suggest that foods high in both fats and carbs are far more satisfying, even more so than bigger portions of our favourite foods.