Scientists Say This Is Why You Might Crave a Burger From Time to Time
by Matthew Gilligan
If you’ve ever had a sudden craving for a big, juicy burger, you’re not alone…
And it’s not something you can control, either. And scientists at Johns Hopkins University published a paper in 2017 that says there is a circuit in our brains that causes cravings for protein.
Humans’ neurological source for craving nutrients such as protein has long been a mystery but these researchers think they may have made some significant progress.
They started studying the brains of female fruit flies who had recently mated to monitor their hunger for proteins. Female fruit flies who have recently mated have increased cravings for protein.
When they withheld yeast from them, that’s when they noticed that a circuit of neurons they call the DA-WED lit up. They shut down those cells but when they were off the fruit flies weren’t interested in eating the yeast.
Shutting down the DA-WED cells didn’t want to make the flies drink any less water or eat less overall, they just weren’t interested in the protein-rich yeast.
This research still needs more work and the link between flies and humans will need to be confirmed through more experiments, but this is a start.
The authors of the paper said, “Further characterization of these and related circuit mechanisms should help delineate the fundamental principles governing protein-specific hunger. A better understanding of how animals choose to consume protein may also have implications for the treatment of obesity.”
We’ll have to keep an eye on this story…now, who wants a burger?!?!