Vanilla Milkshakes with High Fat Content are More Addictive Than Lighter Alternatives, According to New Research
High-fat vanilla milkshakes are more addictive than lighter alternatives, according to new research by a team of brain researchers at Oxford University. The study found that the brain area connected to sensations and the attractiveness of food in the front part of the frontal lobe – the so-called orbitofrontal cortex – gets excited by the recognition of fatty food.
The study was conducted by preparing vanilla-flavored milkshakes with varying fat and sugar content. In one option, instead of fat, they added a thickener used by the food industry to give juiciness. The researchers also procured pig tongues from a local butcher and measured the sliding friction of their milkshakes with different compositions in conditions reminiscent of the human mouth. The friction really decreased according to the fat content of the shake.
More than twenty test subjects got to slurp milkshakes, and after tasting, they were asked to say how much they were willing to pay for more milkshakes. Willingness to pay told the researchers how much the participants liked each vanilla drink. During the tasting, their brains were imaged with a functional magnetic resonance imaging device (fMRI). It turned out that