Case of the Cravings

Take a trip to the deli… or go for doughnuts with jelly! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science saying…

Who’s calling the shots… your brain or your belly?!

A BALANCED diet is critical for survival. So WHY do we sometimes crave a bacon cheeseburger or a double-crust pizza, side of fries? Those aren’t exactly HEART HEALTHY.

Brian Tevelline and Kevin Kohl from the University of Pittsburgh got to the guts of this question.

The researchers collected gut bacteria from three rodent species with different diets. There were meat-eaters… plant-eaters… and some who ate a little of both. They put these bacteria into thirty mice that lacked gut bacteria and let them choose their food. The menu was either protein-rich or carbohydrate-rich food. Like choosing between steak and pasta for dinner! 

Results? Mice with plant-eater gut bacteria preferred to eat FEWER carbohydrates. About eighty percent LESS carbs than mice with meat or mixed-eater bacteria. This study shows that our GUT actually influences our dietary choices! 

Rocky Road Ice cream after dinner? My gut SCREAMS yes! 

Reference: Trevelline, B. K., & Kohl, K. D. (2022). The gut microbiome influences host diet selection behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(17), e2117537119.