by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.
What controls our food decisions?
“I’ll start on Monday” you keep telling yourself. But then Monday comes… and what happens? Nothing…… You keep doing the same things, in the same way you did last week. Your intention was there. On Tuesday morning, you have no idea why you didn’t follow through.
Scientists tell us that 95% of our food decisions are based on subconscious habits. When, why and what you eat are, for the most part of the day, a set of memorised behaviours that run automatically. This means that when you decide to change an eating habit, you have to fight against 95% of you brain’s software. Impossible, right? Well, there’s hope.
Eric Kandel, Nobel Prize in Neuroscience for his discoveries about habituation, says that repeated exposure to the same ideas weakens the brain’s ability to change and puts it to sleep. However, whenever you learn something new, communication between neurons improve and taking new action feels more natural.
So, could it be that starting a diet on Monday feels hard because the brain is asleep?
In a clinical study, a group of volunteers were asked to attend a nutrition course for an hour a week for six weeks before starting a weight loss programme. They were told that they didn’t have to change their diets and to simply use the course as a learning experience. Surprisingly, the researchers found that the students lost more weight during the nutrition course than during their weight loss programme!
Scientists explain that neurons become more active during any form of learning and, for this reason, we are more motivated when we are introduced to new concepts, new experiences, and new thoughts. If you want to rewire your brain, you need to expose yourself to different things and fresh ideas. Luckily, we’re here for you to always help you with just that. Every now and then, we’ll be sharing with you more science, health news and stuff that will keep your brain inspired!
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