> Battle Obesity with Plain Packaging for Fatty Foods, says Leading Neuroscientist - The Food Safety Company Battle Obesity with Plain Packaging for Fatty Foods, says Leading Neuroscientist - The Food Safety Company
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    Tuesday, 7 March 2017

    Battle Obesity with Plain Packaging for Fatty Foods, says Leading Neuroscientist


    Wolfram Schultz, Professor of Neuroscience at Cambridge University, has spent a lifetime studying the brain’s decision making process and reward system, recently culminating in his earning of the €1m (£864,000) Brain Prize alongside Peter Dayan, director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL, and Ray Dolan, director of the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing. It’s safe to say the trio know a thing or two about how the brain works.

    Now, Professor Schultz is aiming his knowledge at the food industry, stating that fatty foods should be sold in plain packaging in an effort to reduce obesity rates around the country, as the colourful wrapping and advertising associated with such foods triggers the release of chemicals which encourage overeating.

    The chemical in question is dopamine, which serves as a vital part of the brain’s reward system, and is released to encourage positive behaviours. Over the course of his research, spanning over 30 years, Schultz found that when animals were given a reward, in this case fruit juice, neurons fired and released dopamine in response. When these animals were taught to associate specific images with the arrival of such treats, the same response was observed upon the animal seeing the picture, rather than when the reward was actually taken. The same process is in play when it comes to the packaging used for high-calorie foods.

    This pre-emptive release of dopamine, Schultz states, is encouraging overeating and leading to a rise in obesity by increasing the appeal of unhealthy diets.

    “We should not advertise, propagate or encourage the unnecessary ingestion of calories,” he said.

    “There should be some way of regulating the desire to get more calories. We don’t need these calories.

    “Colourful wrapping of high energy foods of course makes you buy more of that stuff and once you have it in your fridge, it’s in front of you every time you open the fridge and ultimately you’re going to eat it and eat too much.”


    Sam Bonson

    Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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