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Prebiotics, brain function and addictive fast food

Labelling certain foods as “addictive” could help change consumers’ diets, according to an international team of scientists, especially since approximately 14% of adults and 12% of children in the world may be addicted to ultra-processed food. How they consume foods high in hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates may “meet criteria for a diagnosis of substance use disorder.” Experts analysed 281 studies from 36 countries.

Can plant-based nutrients alter gut bacteria and affect brain function? The results of studies of overweight adults conducted by scientists from the University of Leipzig suggest that prebiotics, i.e. non-digestible ingredients contained in, for example, onions, leeks, artichokes, wheat and bananas, influence both the composition of intestinal bacteria and the reward signals in the brain and related dietary decision-making. High doses of prebiotics lead to reduced reward-related brain activation in response to high-calorie food stimuli.

California is the first state in the US to ban four food and drink additives linked to numerous diseases. It has already been banned in dozens of countries, including the European Union. The California Food Safety Act prohibits producing, distributing, and selling foods and beverages containing brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye 3. The law will be implemented in 2027 to give companies time to change recipes.

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