Calorie-dense foods cause permanent munchies

September 8, 2018

Calorie-dense foods like cookies can give you the permanent munchies.

Everyone loved the X Games and the thrill of Marcus Kleveland’s gold-medal performance in Snowboard Slopestyle this year in Aspen, Colorado. But we’re even bigger fans of the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s version. Its Xtreme Eating Awards gives “prizes” (the Worst Visceral Effects) to the Xtreme Eating opportunities at chain restaurants. In 2017, the prize went to this calorie-dense concoction: Chili’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo, coming in at 2,440 calories, 41 grams of saturated fat and 7,610 milligrams of sodium.

If you chowed down on that, not only would you stoke the flames of inflammation, bewilder your guts and terrorize your heart’s blood-pumping chambers, you’d damage your brain’s ability to let you know when you’re full.

Researchers presented evidence at the recent Canadian Neuroscience Meeting that showed that the brain’s natural endocannabinoid signaling process (cannabinoids like THC also are present in marijuana) operates in a brain region involved in evaluating taste, touch and smell. When that’s working as it should, you know when you’re done eating. But if you regularly pack in calorie-dense foods, your brain can be physically altered and those cannabinoids make you always eager to eat! You’ll develop permanent munchies for calorie-dense foods. Yuck!

So, if you’re going for Xtreme health over Xtreme calories, you need to help your brain get straight! Stock up on calorie-light foods; try a second helping of steamed greens, with lemon garlic; 4 cups of raw spinach contains 28 calories! Stick with broiled salmon; 6 ounces equals 300 calories. Half a cup of brown rice has 150 calories. That’s Xtremely smart!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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