Tummy Time

Who’s really in charge… you, or your tummy?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

You’re in the library and hunger STRIKES. Forget the salad! You’re craving pizza. Why do we prefer such rich, savory foods? 

Mengtong Li and team from Howard Hughes Medical Institute wondered. 

Researchers gave mice two water bottles with either soluble fat or artificial sweetener. This tested their preference for a fatty versus sweet taste. The mice drank almost exclusively from the water containing fat! Uh… Why? Messengers called vagal neurons send messages from the gut to the brain! The fat in the gut stimulates vagal neurons, which then notifies our brain cells!

The fatty water is tasteless, but mice consumed more of it. The researchers believe it’s because of those vagal neurons! Once your tummy gets a taste of fatty foods, it tells your brain, “MORE!”.

With a Vagal yell, it cries MORE MORE MORE! 

Or maybe I should say… a BAGEL YELL?! Huh! A Pizza bagel!


Li, M., Tan, HE., Lu, Z. et al. Gut-Brain Circuits for Fat Preference. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05266-z