A University of California, San Diego, study has reportedly claimed that the brains of obese children “literally light up differently when tasting sugar,” according to a December 11, 2014, press release. Kerri Boutelle, et al., “Increased brain response to appetitive tastes in the insula and amygdala in obese compared to healthy weight children when sated,” International Journal of Obesity, December 2014. Researchers apparently scanned the brains of 10 obese and 13 healthy weight children “while they tasted one-fifth of a teaspoon of water mixed with sucrose (table sugar).”

The results evidently showed that the obese children “had heightened activity in the insular cortex and amygdala, regions of the brain involved in perception, emotion, awareness, taste, motivation and reward.” As the lead author explained, “The take-home message is that obese children, compared to healthy weight children, have enhanced responses in their brain to sugar. That we can detect these differences in children as young as eight years old is the most remarkable and clinically significant part of the study.”