A group of people were each given a 380-calorie shake. Half were told it was a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake and the other half a 140-calorie “sensible” shake. The researchers measured the participants hunger hormone ghrelin at three different points after drinking the shake. The people who thought they had consumed the indulgent shake had steeper declines in ghrelin, also reporting they felt fuller. Those who believed they had the sensible shake, had a flatter ghrelin response, reporting less feelings of fullness.
Although we often think of them as separate, mind and body are connected and greatly influence each other. How we think about food can affect not just how much we eat, but our physiological responses.
What if the people in the study stayed mindful while drinking the shake instead of letting the food label influence them? How many times does this happen in real life? We know people tend to eat more when an item is labeled “healthy,” “low fat,” or “organic,” something called the health halo effect. At least one study with children shows the opposite, they eat less of a food when they are told it is healthy.
Avoiding food labels and being mindful while eating allows you to decide for yourself what fills you up and gives you energy. You (and your children) can become experts of your own body and eating experience.
This week, let’s be mindful of how we perceive food and how that affects what and how much we (and our family) eat. What happens when we tune out all the noise and become mindful of our experience?
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