How Does Your Brain Make Food Decisions?

by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.

Here you are, waiting in line at your favorite coffee chain and nothing better to do than staring at these two bananas, that lonely apple… and those giant cookies, those fresh brownies, not to mention the cinnamon-scented Danish croissants.

To eat or not to eat? And then what or how much?

Will it be an immediate treat sprinkled with guilt flecks, or the long-term fruit of happiness?

These questions occupy your brain more often than you think.

Today we dive into the neuroscience of healthy (or not so healthy) food choices… and what you can do about them:

Grab “How does your brain make food decisions?” below:


Download PDF NOW!


Conveniently download this 27-page science report. Contains links to extra reading materials and scientific references.

Topics covered in this report:

  1. The food dilemma
  2. Your brain is a decision machine
  3. It makes choices behind your back
  4. Predicting choices from brain activity
  5. Results from the clock experiment
  6. Your brain computes calories, you don’t…
  7. When calories drive your choices
  8. A taste of that unhealthy choice
  9. Self-control and healthier decisions
  10. Forget about your weight
  11. What causes poor food decisions?
  12. You are not in control… or are you?
  13. Use your frontal lobe
  14. Tempting foods (just looking)
  15. Chocolate cake vs. flower images
  16. Reminder of long-term goals
  17. Other influencing factors
  18. Your key takeaways
  19. References and resources


Download PDF NOW!


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Goulven and I would love to hear from you in the comments below:

  1. What's your number one discovery from this report?
  2. What does it mean to you and those you help?
  3. Are there any action steps you would take, or things you would change as a result of this report?

Share your own insights with us and your fellow readers!

Alex Ruani leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where she and her team make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for students. She is a Harvard-trained scientific researcher who specialises in cravings and appetite neurobiology, nutrition biochemistry, and nutrigenomics. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition science, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free Science Catch-ups every other Thursday.
Connect with Alex via email.

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  • Rory T.

    Reply Reply April 9, 2015

    Alex and Goulven
    This is fascinating !
    221 is a big number and to be honest I’m probably aware of just 3 of those!
    Thank you !! you guys are the best !

  • Shirley

    Reply Reply April 15, 2015

    thank you for the report about how our brain makes food decisions. I can see why our food choices are so difficult. There are so many temptations available and it is difficult to always choose the best option. It is very human to have something tasty and a little bit wicked! I am learning to opt for the healthier solution, most of the time, now. I try to think about being healthy and the outcomes that I would like for myself. I also know that I am healthier and feel better when I do make regular, healthy choices.
    I also read the report about supermarket shopping and I agree with everything that is in there. The supermarkets are designed to sell what makes the most money for them. I find a list and an idea of what I want to eat, including healthy recipes, helps me a lot. I also do not shop when I am hungry. Being aware of the marketing traps helps me to avoid them. If I fill my trolley up with fruit and vegetables first I manage to avoid some of the rubbish along the way.

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