Mystery Solved: The Way To A Woman’s Heart Is Through Her Stomach

In new research by clinical psychologist Alice Ely, there’s some light shed on the conundrum that has plagued men for centuries: “How do I get this lady to like me?”

In a new study published online in the journal Appetite, researchers found that women’s brains respond more to romantic cues on a full stomach than an empty one. The study explored brain circuitry in hungry versus satiated states among women who were past-dieters and those who had never dieted…

“We found that young women both with and without a history of dieting had greater brain activation in response to romantic pictures in reward-related neural regions after having eaten than when hungry,” said Ely.

So far, studies have found support for stronger reward responses while hungry, but Ely’s research provides a view of the other side of the coin: When you’re hungry, you’re preoccupied with finding food, but once you’ve chowed down, you can focus on other priorities.

“In this case, they were more responsive when fed,” she said. “This data suggests that eating may prime or sensitize young women to rewards beyond food. It also supports a shared neurocircuitry for food and sex…

“The pattern of response was similar to historical dieter’s activation when viewing highly palatable food cues, and is consistent with research showing overlapping brain-based responses to sex, drugs and food,” said Ely.

Maybe those dinner dates aren’t so overrated after all!


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