Your Brain Wants Food

Summary: Your brain plays a significant role in your food cravings and choices.
Air Date: 4/13/16
Duration: 10 Minutes
Host: Dr. Mike Fenster
Guest Bio: Michael Kavanaugh, PhD
Dr.-Michael-KavanaughAfter completing undergraduate work in Biology at Washington University in St. Louis in 1982, Michael Kavanaugh received his Ph.D. from the Oregon Health Sciences University in 1987. He pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the Vollum Institute at OHSU and joined the Vollum faculty in 1993. Kavanaugh joined the University of Montana in January 2003, where he directs the Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience. He teaches graduate and undergraduate neuroscience students, and runs an NIH-funded research program focused on neurotransmitter transporters, synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. He is also involved in K-12 education in neuroscience.
Your Brain Wants Food
Your brain is hard wired to eat. It knows that if your body doesn't eat or drink, it will eventually perish.

Your gustatory receptors give your brain cues to know when needs are being met. It usually tells you when you need water to hydrate, salt to maintain hydration, fats and sugars when energy is low. Your nutritional cravings can change based on what your body needs.

Humans don't have the largest brains in the animal kingdom, but the human brain has unique cognitive abilities. Twenty-five percent of the calories your body requires are just for feeding your brain, even though the brain occupies less than 25 percent of your overall body mass. The calculation is that humans have three times the neurological power of gorillas.

Cooking helps your body get the most out of what you eat. While gorillas spend most of their time foraging for enough food to provide the nutrients they need, you can whip up a meal in your kitchen that contains exactly what your mind and body require for optimum function.

Listen in as Dr. Michael Kavanaugh joins Dr. Mike at University of Montana's Innovators and Trailblazers Symposium to discuss cravings and the brain's role in hunger regulation.

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