Why is food a powerful reward?

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Sheri D. Pruitt
Psychology
Food has the potential to be a powerful physiologic and psychological reward -- it's a reinforcer that satisfies both our bodies and our minds. As an example, think about eating ice cream, which has a built-in reward system for most people. You purchase the ice cream and put some in your mouth. It's cool, refreshing, sweet, and creamy. Your taste buds come alive, and your visual, olfactory, and gustatory senses are stimulated. You smile. You're happy. Thus your ice cream eating behavior has been rewarded. What happens next? You take another bite, and another, and every bite you take gives you both physiologic and psychological rewards.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.