Those drives, the research team noted, are very much still in play despite a modern environment of food overabundance.
To explore how old-school hunger manifests itself in a brave new world, Monteleone and his colleagues focused on three healthy men and five healthy women between the ages of 21 and 33. No participant was overweight or obese and all were free of any problematic dieting or bingeing behaviors.
Each engaged in two eating tests, spread one month apart. On both occasions, participants first consumed a 300-calorie breakfast that was composed of 77 percent carbohydrates, 10 percent protein and 13 percent fat.
After each meal, participants ranked their level of hunger, while waiting for an hour to pass. At that point, all were presented with what was previously established as their favorite food -- a food they would want to eat even after being full.
For five minutes, the participants were allowed only to see and smell their favorite food, during which time they were asked to describe how hungry they were, how much of an urge they had to eat the food and how much of it they planned to eat.
The second test was similar, except this time participants were offered an unappetizing item -- a sugarless combination of bread, milk and butter, for example -- that contained exactly the same nutrients and calories as the tasty item in the first test.
The result: Despite a shared feeling of satiation following breakfast, the participants said their urge to eat and the amount they planned to eat was significantly higher in the face of their favorite food as compared to the unappetizing food.
What's more, blood tests revealed that when participants ate their favorite food, their blood levels of the hormone ghrelin incre
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