It’s a sweet, sweet life

Today I came across an interesting article whereby scientists have discovered that insects eat for pleasure!  Researchers at the University of Georgia have identified the neural pathways in an insect that are tied to eating for pleasure, a discovery which may shed light on similar impulsive eating pathways in the human brain.

The insect chosen for this research was the fruit fly larvae. The research team presented them with appetising odours and found this caused impulsive feeding of sugar-rich foods, with the fly larvae consuming approximately 30 per cent more food.

When the fly larvae were offered a ‘sub standard meal’ (though I shudder to think what a sub standard meal for a fly larvae might be..) they refused to eat it.

According to lead researcher, Ping Shen,  UGA Associate Professor of Cellular Biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, even fly larvae have expectations. He said that, if the concentration of sugar is reduced below a certain threshold, the fly larvae simply do not respond.

It is hoped that if scientists can use this information and begin to understand how compulsive eating behaviours happen, and it may eventually be possible to devise a way to prevent it in humans.

However, imagining fly larvae happily munching their sweet treats might just go some way towards preventing us compulsively eating those cup cakes!

Read the whole article here.


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