Do you find it hard to resist eating sweets and junk food? You can now blame your brain for the cravings! A recent study explains how regular consumption of foods with high fat and sugar content alters your brain activity to keep wanting more.

In a study conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Cologne, Germany, in collaboration with Yale University, researchers found that those who regularly eat even small amounts of high-fat/high-sugar snacks have changes in brain activity that creates long-term preferences to consume these foods in the future.

Researchers conducted a randomized, controlled study with normal-weight participants for over eight weeks to find out why people prefer fattening and unhealthy food.

"Our tendency to eat high-fat and high-sugar foods, the so-called Western diet, could be innate or develop as a result of being overweight. But we think that the brain learns this preference," said Sharmili Edwin Thanarajah, a lead author of the study.

Volunteers were divided into two groups – one group received a daily pudding rich in fat and sugar, while the other group was given a low-fat pudding in addition to the normal diet. Researchers found the group that took high-sugar and fat-rich food had greater brain responses to the same after the period of the study.

"Our measurements of brain activity showed that the brain rewires itself through the consumption of chips and [other junk food]. It subconsciously learns to prefer rewarding food. Through these changes in the brain, we will unconsciously always prefer the foods that contain a lot of fat and sugar," Marc Tittgemeyer, who led the study, said.

High sugar and fat-rich food activate the dopaminergic system of the brain, the region responsible for motivation and reward, the study finds. "Akin to addictive drugs, there is evidence that this rewiring promotes further consumption of highly palatable energy-dense foods," researchers wrote in their paper, published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

The team found out that the test persons did not gain more weight compared to the people in the control group. They also did not have changes in blood sugar or cholesterol levels. But the researchers believe that the people in the test group will continue to prefer sugary foods even after the end of the study.

"New connections are made in the brain, and they don’t dissolve so quickly. After all, the whole point of learning is that once you learn something, you don’t forget it so quickly," Tittgemeyer added.