We all know that a cheeky cube of chocolate or a rushed bag of crisps always taste that little but nicer on a strict diet.
But scientists reckon there's an actual physiological reason why snacking is more pleasurable with a side helping of guilt.
Researchers from Northwestern University in the United States have found that people who are 'primed with guilt' before eating enjoy their food more.
Now we know where the term 'guilty pleasure' comes from!
Scientists believe that the brain automatically associates pleasure with guilt and vice versa, so the feeling of eating unhealthy, fatty foods is actually enjoyable.
But the link between guilt and pleasure does not stop at food.
In another experiment, women were asked to relive their guiltiest moment before being shown online profiles of attractive men on a dating website. The study showed that the women who had felt guilty enjoyed the experience of online dating more.
Lead researcher Kelly Goldsmith said, "Guilt is linked with pleasure because often times when we experience guilt, we experience pleasure. I think for a lot of people these cognitive associations can form just based on what we called repeated coactivation. When pleasure's activated, guilt is activated, and so in our brains, over time, those two become connected."
Okay, okay, so maybe one cube of delicious Dairy Milk isn't going to ruin your diet, but three bars certainly will, so don't let the taste fool you.
It's your dastardly brain playing tricks!
What do you think?
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