How do you feel about cake?

Posted on July 22nd, 2010 by

Cake image by Roboppy at

If you see a piece of cake, or hear someone say the word “cake,” do you find yourself, well, wanting cake–even if you just got up from a huge meal?

Scientists at two conferences this week have been investigating the differences between “hedonic” and “homeostatic” eaters–that is, between eaters for whom the siren song of three layers of chocolate with sour cream ganache is unavoidable, versus those for whom “I’m full” signal effectively shuts off the “but that’s CAKE!” signal.

Wall Street Journal Health Columnist Melinda Beck reports on the conferences.

Two Nobel Conference presenters are doing research related to the themes of this conference. Jeffrey Friedman discovered  the hormone leptin and its receptors, which balance caloric expenditure with critical brain signals. And Linda Bartoshuk has studied the ways in which damage to the chorda tympani taste nerve (a not-uncommon result of severe childhood  ear infections) can intensify sensations of creaminess and oiliness associated with fats. “This, in turn, makes high fat foods more palatable. Imagine doubling the creaminess of crème brûlée!”

Excuse me; I need to go get some cake.


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