US: How big food uses hunger triggers

The old Lay’s Potato Chip challenge, “Betcha can’t eat just one” was not only a testament to the salty-crunchy deliciousness of the chips, it was also an unknowing hat tip to the ingrained human tendency to eat more than is probably good for you, at least in the 21st century. Ever notice how, even if you’re not really hungry, taking a bite of a tasty food – that potato chip, say – triggers something in your brain that suddenly makes it all but impossible to stop eating until either you’re uncomfortably full or you reach the bottom of the bag? Scientists believe this trigger is the result of our prehistoric ancestors having to survive in a world without fast-food restaurants on every other street corner. During those lucky periods when food was plentiful – after a successful mastodon hunt, for example – they evolved the ability to quickly gorge themselves as a hedge against what was sure to be a coming scarcity. More