Regular consumption of foods high in fat and sugar leads to changes in the brain, causing it to learn to prefer those foods, according to a study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute, Cologne and Yale University. The research involved giving a group of volunteers a small but high fat, high sugar pudding each day for eight weeks, while another group received a low fat version. The brain activity of both groups was measured at the beginning and end of the period. The response to high-fat and high-sugar versions was far higher amongst those who had eaten the rich pudding, with increased activation of the dopaminergic system, which is linked to motivation and reward. The non-fat group’s brain responses showed no such changes. Although the study participants didn’t put on more weight during the trial, nor did their blood sugar or cholesterol levels change, the scientists believe the preference for foods laden with sugar will persist. “New connections are made in the brain, and they don’t dissolve so quickly,” said lead author Marc Tittgemeyer, noting that successful learning never easily fades.