The Ghrelin Made You Eat It

  1. You feel hungry.
  2. You eat.
  3. You feel full
  4. You stop eating.

.This is how it’s supposed to work.

Unfortunately, our bodies don’t always work the way we want them to. Sometimes,we feel an intense desire to eat (and eat and eat) even when we are full

And why is that?

According to researchers, one of our appetite hormones – Ghrelin, can trick our brains into making us eat “pleasurable” foods even when we are full.

Previous research has shown that elevated levels of ghrelin is linked to the “reward” aspects of eating.

According to researcher Dr. Jeffrey Zigman, rewards can “generally be defined as things that make us feel better”.

“They give us sensory pleasure, and they motivate us to work to obtain them,” he said. “They also help us reorganize our memory so that we remember how to get them.”

In this recent study, researchers looked for an answer to why someone who is already is driven to eat that high-calorie dessert.

For this study, the researchers conducted two standard behavioral tests on some lab mice.

In the first, they evaluated whether the mice that were fully sated preferred a room where they had previously found high-fat food over one that had only offered regular bland chow. They found that when mice in this situation were administered ghrelin, they strongly preferred the room that had been paired with the high-fat diet. Mice without ghrelin showed no preference.

“We think the ghrelin prompted the mice to pursue the high-fat chow because they remembered how much they enjoyed it,” Dr. Perello said. “It didn’t matter that the room was now empty; they still associated it with something pleasurable.”

When the researchers blocked the secretion of ghrelin, the mice spent less time in the room that they associated with the high-fat food.

For the second test, the team observed how long mice would continue to poke their noses into a hole in order to receive a pellet of high-fat food. “The animals that didn’t receive ghrelin gave up much sooner than the ones that did receive ghrelin.”


Humans and mice share the same type of brain-cell connections and hormones, as well as similar architectures in the so-called “pleasure centers” of the brain. In addition, the behavior of the mice in this study is consistent with pleasure- or reward-seeking behavior seen in other animal studies of addiction.

Future research will look into which neural circuits in the brain regulate ghrelin’s actions.


Elevated levels of ghrelin can force your brain to override your normal signals of fullness.

So, the next time you overeat when full, blame it on the ghrelin.