This simple/brilliant hack will keep you from snacking on too much junk food

Fighting a sweet tooth? Well, have we got great news for you! New research shows that eating something sweet could actually help you avoid over-eating. Yes, the day we’ve all longed for has come: that chocolate chip cookie you’re currently eyeing could actually be the key to a successful nutrition plan.

According to a study summarized at Science Daily, researchers from Georgia State University, Georgia Regents University, and the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center found interesting results when they gave rats a sweetened sucrose or saccharin solution with meals: parts of their tiny rat brains associated with episodic memory activated.

Episodic memory is kind of a big deal; basically, it’s what allows us to form long-term memories that stick with us instead of fading away. If you recall your fifth birthday party or what you ate for breakfast yesterday, you’re using episodic memory. So what did it mean when this part of the brain activated in the rats? That they were more likely to remember their meal.

Earlier research by the same team, as well as in other studies, suggests that when you remember your meals, you’re more likely to eat healthy. This is one of the reasons that some studies suggest food journals as a key to diet management. Being conscious and aware of what you had for breakfast and lunch is going to help you decide how to balance that out with dinner and snacks.

So, if you clearly recall having waffles for breakfast and a giant sandwich for lunch, you might be more likely to reach for a salad for dinner. What the new research suggests is that consuming some sugar gives your brain a shortcut to this awareness, keying your brain in to stay in moderation.

Now of course, what the research doesn’t suggest is chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A small amount of sugar obtained in healthy ways- by fruit or a piece of dark chocolate, for instance- might do the same trick. Nevertheless, we’re going to take a silver lining when we find one!

(Image via NBC)

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