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Psychology of eating is an understanding of how our food choices affect our brain and the effects the brain has on our everyday choices.

What is Food Psychology

Have you noticed how looking at a pizza when you are hungry is a totally different feeling than looking at pizza after you have had a full meal? The “hungry you” and the “satisfied you” do not look at pizza the same way. Your innermost thoughts and feelings about food have a great impact on the body. Let’s say you are trying to lose weight so every time you eat pasta you think- “This has so many calories and fat, this is bad for me.” The hypothalamus in the brain takes this as a negative input and starts an inhibitory response in the digestive organs. What this means is, your pasta stays in your stomach for longer which results in killing good bacteria in your gut and an increase of toxic by-products released in your bloodstream.

The feelings of guilt and shame increase the cortisol level that helps to store more fat in your body. What you think becomes a reality. But someone on a keto diet sees the same pasta as good food and has positive associations while eating it. Which results in a better metabolism rate and lesser fat storage. The other way around is also true, you could be eating the healthiest meal but toxic thoughts about it could lower your fat metabolism rate and digestion of the food goes down. Changing your mental process while making food choices could go a long way..

How Food Influences the Brain

Food and brain romance is a two-way relationship. The food you eat also helps to maintain your mental health. Your brain needs appropriate fuel to work efficiently. To build better mental health, adding foods rich in protein, omega-3, vitamins, minerals and gut-friendly superfoods can have positive effects. Many pieces of research have supported that foods high in refined sugar can be harmful to the brain. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.

The 10 Psychological Facts About Eating

    • Just a 15-minute walk could fix seasonal cravings out of boredom:

We all eat even when we are full, sometimes out of boredom. A 15-minute walk can help us reconnect with our body and declutter the preoccupied food thoughts.

    • What we order depends on other people:

Have you noticed how we all order different foods at the same table? We like to stand out and express our personality through food choices, so we hold off on ordering what someone else has ordered.

    • Wait 5 minutes before indulging in a craving:

If you tell yourself you can have what you want but just needs to wait 5 minutes when you get a craving. It helps to keep emotional eating in check. Most people find the willpower to say no after a few minutes. .

    • Society Influences how we eat:

We tend to eat more when people around us eat more, and people on a diet tend to eat unhealthy food if the food is served by an obese waiter. The body type of the server permits them to eat more subconsciously. Shocking, but true!

    • Suppressing thoughts of food results in overeating:

When we are on a diet, we constantly try to suppress our food thoughts this makes us more susceptible to giving in to food cravings and results in binge eating.

    • Little changes make more difference than trendy diets:

Regular and consistent changes in your eating habits give more results than crash diets. Giving up sugar gradually over a month can reduce more weight than a 7-day juice diet.

    • Fancy food tastes better:

The exquisite names and labels build up our hope and expectations of the taste. This affects how it tastes in reality.

    • The older we get, the less tasty the food:

The taste buds become older with age. Men seem to be more affected by this. Older people need extra seasoning and salt.

    • There are many triggers for emotional eating:

We make unhealthy food choices in times when we are physically vulnerable too. Feeling tired is also a contributing factor.

    • We eat more when we are distracted:

Mindful eating is extensively propagated as we tend to eat more while watching TV or talking. Paying full attention to what you eat helps to relish your food.

Myths Debunked

    • Brown bread is less fattening than white bread

The calorie content of both brown bread and white bread is almost equal. But a higher amount of fibre makes it a tad healthier.

    • Exercise helps to reduce more weight than diet

You cannot outrun a poor diet. If your diet is unhealthy, exercising for an hour daily too won't help you lose weight. A good diet and exercise are what you need to achieve your health goals.

    • You should drink 6-8 glasses of water every day

The amount of water your body needs differs for each individual depending on their activity level, gender, age and environment. Drink as much as your body needs.

    • Eating more protein gives more muscle

Eating protein is important but eating a tonne of protein more than the necessary amount does not result in growing more muscle. Resistance training exercise helps to give a more defined body shape.

    • Spicy foods give ulcers

Eating Spicy foods does not result in more ulcers. Helicobacter pylori (a type of bacteria) causes ulcers. Spicy food only aggravates the already existing ulcers in your stomach.

    • Microwaving food reduces key nutrients

Microwave cooking often uses less water and allows for a shorter cook time therefore, it can help minimize nutrient loss. The key is to do it right. It’s the wrong temperature and longer cooking time that affects nutrient losses, not the cooking method itself.

In a nutshell, the inner workings of our brain are truly awe-inspiring. A better understanding of biology can help you curb binge eating and emotional eating. Choosing to pay attention to seemingly minor details can reveal fascinating truths.

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