ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s almost that time…Belt loosening time.

The turkey is gobbled up, the casseroles are consumed – and the potatoes are stuffing the stuffing into corners of your stomach you haven't explored since last Thanksgiving.

There’s no way you can possibly find room for even one teeny-tiny slice of pie.

But...

Well – OK, just a piece.

Sound familiar?

It turns out there really is always room for dessert.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, researchers from Carleton University in Canada figured out why back in 2012. But, the science to explain the sensation of hunger goes back much further, of course.

So, here’s what you can take to the table.

Scientific American explains it’s basically about the difference between eating for survival – or for pleasure.

Our bodies use competing hormones to control how hungry we are – ghrelin and leptin. When our stomachs are empty, ghrelin tells our brains it’s time to order a pizza.

When our fat cells start piling up, leptin sends the message to make a light salad.

Simply enough, right? 

Wrong…Because sugar and fat don’t follow the rules.

Our guilty pleasures actually short-circuit our brains’ reward circuit – where compulsions and addictions like to hide. Scientists say sweet or fatty foods have similar effects on the brain as gambling or cocaine.

So essentially, your irresistible urge to reach for dessert after a belly-busting Thanksgiving feast – is not your fault.

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