Scientists Say We’re Programmed To Always Have Room For Dessert

Alfie PowellAlfie Powell in News, Weird
Published 10.01.20

Having a “dessert stomach” is a scientifically proven thing, and now leaving room during dinner makes sense.

It’s weird isn’t it? No matter how much you eat at a restaurant and no matter how stuffed you say you are, you’ll always at least entertain the idea of a pudding with the waiter asks you.

A lot of the time you’ll go for one too. You’ll regret it afterwards for the way it made you feel and the additional cost, but that seldom stops you.


That’s right, a dessert stomach is apparently a thing, as revealed by Professor Barbara Rolls, from Penn State University in the US.

Professor Rolls – which sounds like a dessert in itself – has been researching the topic for the last 40 years and found that there’s something called sensory-specific satiety, which is the reason so many of us like to tempt fate with pudding after a hefty dinner.


By all accounts the sensory-specific satiety is an evolutionary helper, as it discourages us from eating too much of one type of food in order to make sure we have a balanced diet. Very cool.

This means that while we can get “full” and fed up with one type of food, if we switch to something totally different immediately after, then our appetite will come back.

Say for example you’re eating an entire cow. After several bites, you might start thinking “I am very done with eating this entire cow. In fact, I’m done with eating full stop!


Just as you say that, some ne’er-do-well throws a grape in your mouth, followed by another ne’er-do-well making you chew it and a third ne’er-do-well forcing you to swallow it.

All of a sudden you’re thinking “boy, I could really do with another grape!” and there you have it, you’re hungry again because of sensory-specific satiety.

Nature is so beautiful.


Professor of nutritional sciences Barbara Rolls told the Daily Mail:

The decline in pleasure you derive from food is specific to the food you have been eating, or other foods that are similar.

So, while you might lose your appetite for that food, a different food will still be appealing. That’s why you always have room for dessert.


But what about only dessert? What does that coward “evolution” have to say about that.

Images via Getty