Event Title

Difficulty in Resisting Fat and Carbohydrate Cravings may be Linked to Poor Attentional Control

Presenter Information

Hannah Sallmann

Mentor 1

Adam Greenberg & Christine Larson

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

27-4-2018 1:00 PM

Description

Variability in one’s focus of attention, often called “zoning out,” has been shown to impede effective task completion. Previously published research suggests that the controlled ingestion of fat and glucose may have short-term influences on cognitive performance; however, the effects of macronutrient intake on selective attention are largely unknown. Here, we hypothesized that subjects with greater stability of carbohydrate, fat, or protein consumption over a 10-day period would exhibit better attentional control (as measured by alerting, orienting, and distracter filtering) than subjects with more variable food intake. Measuring longitudinal fluctuations of attention can be difficult in a laboratory setting where the environment may reduce ecological validity. Therefore, our participants completed assessments “in the wild.” Twenty-eight subjects completed the Attention Network Test (ANT) on a tablet computer four times per day over 10 days, in addition to logging their food consumption on a diet-tracking app. Preliminary correlation analyses of macronutrient variance and ANT scores suggest a negative relationship between carbohydrate variance and filtering, such that increased carbohydrate variance correlated with a reduced ability to filter distracters. We also observed a trend toward significant negative correlation between carbohydrate variability and alerting, such that increased carbohydrate variability correlated with reduced alerting abilities, and this relationship was twice as strong for participants with high carbohydrate variance (versus those with low carbohydrate variance). In addition, higher fat variability correlated with worse distracter filtering. High fat variability also correlated with overall worse orienting, but among participants whose fat intake was most stable, an increase in fat variability correlated with better orienting. These results indicate a relationship between increased attentional control and low variability in fat and carbohydrate intake. Thus, people who regularly experience lapses of attentional control may have trouble regulating intake of high-sugar or high-fat foods when environment or emotional state triggers “junk food” cravings.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 27th, 1:00 PM

Difficulty in Resisting Fat and Carbohydrate Cravings may be Linked to Poor Attentional Control

Union Wisconsin Room

Variability in one’s focus of attention, often called “zoning out,” has been shown to impede effective task completion. Previously published research suggests that the controlled ingestion of fat and glucose may have short-term influences on cognitive performance; however, the effects of macronutrient intake on selective attention are largely unknown. Here, we hypothesized that subjects with greater stability of carbohydrate, fat, or protein consumption over a 10-day period would exhibit better attentional control (as measured by alerting, orienting, and distracter filtering) than subjects with more variable food intake. Measuring longitudinal fluctuations of attention can be difficult in a laboratory setting where the environment may reduce ecological validity. Therefore, our participants completed assessments “in the wild.” Twenty-eight subjects completed the Attention Network Test (ANT) on a tablet computer four times per day over 10 days, in addition to logging their food consumption on a diet-tracking app. Preliminary correlation analyses of macronutrient variance and ANT scores suggest a negative relationship between carbohydrate variance and filtering, such that increased carbohydrate variance correlated with a reduced ability to filter distracters. We also observed a trend toward significant negative correlation between carbohydrate variability and alerting, such that increased carbohydrate variability correlated with reduced alerting abilities, and this relationship was twice as strong for participants with high carbohydrate variance (versus those with low carbohydrate variance). In addition, higher fat variability correlated with worse distracter filtering. High fat variability also correlated with overall worse orienting, but among participants whose fat intake was most stable, an increase in fat variability correlated with better orienting. These results indicate a relationship between increased attentional control and low variability in fat and carbohydrate intake. Thus, people who regularly experience lapses of attentional control may have trouble regulating intake of high-sugar or high-fat foods when environment or emotional state triggers “junk food” cravings.