Anorexics May Have Altered Sense of Taste

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Photo Via Lauren Greenfield Photography: ThinI feel a certain companionship with anorexics. I have never been able to starve myself, but I feel like there is some connection between anorexia and bingeing disorders. Recent research shows that anorexics don’t react to sugar the way “normal” people do.

While the view of anorexia as an addiction is intriguing, there are other possible physiological explanations for the disorder. Dr. Angela Wagner performed an experiment to study the reactions of 16 recovered anorexics to sugar. Recovered anorexics were chosen to avoid the confounding psychological factors that might be present in still-struggling subjects. Recovered anorexics took the sweet drink without protest, but an MRI revealed that while their behavior may have returned to normal, their brains have not. Compared to the control subjects, there was much less activation of the insular cortex, especially the primary cortical taste region. This suggests the possibility that rather than missing meals to feel high, anorexics don’t eat because they simply find normally pleasant tastes less appealing.

If anorexics don’t find food as appealing as “normal” people, then could it be possible that I find it MORE appealing? This seems like very important research, but the sample size of sixteen participants is so small that I can’t really trust the conclusions.

I’m hoping for more research along these lines.

What do you think? Do we overeat because food just tastes better to us?


5 Responses to “Anorexics May Have Altered Sense of Taste”

  1. Adria Says:

    I think I find food more appealing than others. I think it’s because it’s so much more than food to me. My thoughts are that this might be an effect of anorexia, rather than a contributing factor.

  2. ana/mai Says:

    Anorexic literally means lost of appite, and personally-it is- i have no appite for food bcuz i refuse it, i dislike the thought of it making me gain even an once.

  3. zeena Says:

    well that may be some thing to look into for sure, but i to have eating issues, i propably was an annorixec as a teen but when i realised what annorixia was, i cut out that controling what i eat thing really quick, im also very afriad of damaging my body, but i still really watch the way i eat im just very careful not to go over board an develop an eating disorder, u know maby some of them might not find food appealing but what would u say about thoses who love food so much, like me an just love the control over not giving into the eating, i think its more of a need to control issue, think about it many annorixcs were big at one point, look at nachole richie. i think about food all day for the most part, cooking is a great joy to me, like a therapy, but im really careful not to over do it when i eat, an my friends an family regard me a quit thin, an i love that, but like i said earlier, i really belive its a lack of control, be it with some thing in there lives, like a boyfriend, job thier self imeage, ect…. good luck to u on ur resarch though. PS sorry about my poor spelling, im an artist lol:D zeena, s.

  4. jess Says:

    yea, im anorexic, full blown, but I must say this cannot be true because as soon as i bite into food my mouth salivates, goes crazy my brain years more. I feel sugar harder, it hurts when i dont have it and the only reason i go with out it is cuz being fat is scarier than the need for food.

  5. MARY Says:

    No, I don’t think this is true AT ALL. Sorry. I have had anorexia for 24 years and it has NOTHING to do with not liking food. Most anorexics PRETEND not to like food just so they can avoid eating and because they don’t want anyone to know they like food. But I/we (anorexics) DO actually like the TASTE of food – I/we just have an IMMENSE FEAR of it. Anorexics spend most of their lives dreaming about what something (eg. cake, ice cream, roast chicken etc.) would taste like if only they could allow themselves to eat it.

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