Meg Farris / Medical Reporter
You've probably heard that grocery shopping on an empty stomach will make you more inclined to buy and overeat fattening foods, but now science can tell us why. Studies of the brain reveal that when blood sugar, or glucose levels, are normal because you've eaten, the brain is active in the logic, reasoning and planning area. This area helps control impulses, cravings and emotions. But when they are low in blood sugar because you haven't eaten, a deeper area in the brain that controls emotions, motivation, rewards and addictions is active. This is an evolutionary survival tool to keep you from starving.
But here's what shows how our brains are not the same. When normal weight people have eaten, the brain activity switches from the emotional craving center of the brain to the thinking part. But in obese people, the emotional, reward, craving part of the brain does not switch off after they have eaten, driving a constant desire for high calorie foods. The study suggests the outdated terms of willpower or weakness have nothing to do with a person's size.
There is a serious health story about permanent brain damage in babies that is totally avoidable.
When pregnant women drink alcohol, the baby can have brain damage for the rest of his or her life. The lifetime cost for a person with fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS is estimated at $2 million and higher according to the CDC. The cost to the U.S. is $4 billion a year.
Statistics show 10 percent of pregnant women had alcohol in the last month, one in 50 expectant mothers said they engaged in binge drinking in the last month. And more than half of all women who are having unprotected sex, report alcohol use. Remember every organ, including the brain, is being formed from the moment of conception and alcohol is considered a drug or toxin to the baby.