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'Devilish' brain area blamed for bad eating habits

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A ‘devilish’ section of the brain could be why some people with bad eating habits cannot give in to temptation, according to research.

US researchers said they have found an ‘angel’ centre, or dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, in the brain which holds back a ‘devil’ area, known as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, to stop people giving in to cravings.

However, the scientists discovered that it does not work the same in everybody, making some exercise more self control than others.

The ‘angel’ region is more active in individuals with good self control and stops them giving in to temptation for tasty, rich food against other abstract considerations such as ‘healthiness’.

Dr Antonio Rangel, from the California Institute of Technology, and his team showed a group of dieting volunteers photographs of 50 foods, from chocolate to cauliflower, and asked each participant to rate each food according to taste and healthiness.

A ‘reference’ food which each volunteers thought of as neutral was also chosen for them and their brain activity was monitored while they chose between that and other meals.

The scientists found that participants with strong self control signals were able to balance health and taste and those without chose the tastier unhealthier foods.

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