Nooooo: Your Taste Buds Are Sabotaging Your Waistline, Study Says

Put doooown the potato chips.

Not sure why you’re packing on pounds? A new study suggests that the answer to your weight gain woes might lie your taste buds. This study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that the ability to taste sweet and salty foods tends to diminish as you gain weight, Men’s Health reports. Cue a vicious cycle of eating more because you’re tasting less, then gaining more weight — then eating more and, well, you get it.

For the study, researchers studied 93 male college students, testing their taste perception and recording their weight three times over the course of one school year. On average, the students gained four pounds over the course of eight months, a 2.6 percent increase in weight. The researchers found that the students who put on weight were less perceptive to sweet and salty tastes, meaning that they judged foods as less sweet or salty than before they gained weight. And it didn’t take much weight gain for this drop in taste to happen: for every one percent increase in weight, the perception of sweetness dropped by 11 percent and perception of saltiness dropped by eight percent.

So, how exactly does this drop in taste lead to weight gain, you ask? According to the study, your taste buds are connected to your brain’s reward center. So, if you can’t perceive the sweetness of your Ben & Jerry’s as much as you used to, you’ll likely eat more spoonfuls that you would’ve previously to satisfy yourself. Naturally, if you’re doing that often, your pants will start to feel a bit tight. And the cycle continues.

The researchers aren’t quite sure why weight gain screws with your taste buds in the first place, but they think it might be a side effect of inflammation, caused by extra fat. Off to True Food Kitchen you go!

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