Mind over matter: You are what you think you eat

May 25, 2011, Yale University

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new study by Yale University suggests that people's state of mind may influence how physically satisfied they feel after a meal and how likely they are to still feel hungry and consume additional food. The study, which could have implications in the fight against obesity, appears online in the journal Health Psychology.

The research team focused on levels of ghrelin, the so-called "hunger hormone" in the gut, which stimulates the and feelings of . Ghrelin levels typically increase before meals and decrease after meals. The higher the levels of ghrelin in the system, the more likely a person is to overeat.

The Yale team's research subjects were given a 380 calorie milkshake under the pretense that it was either a 620 calorie "indulgent" shake or a 140 calorie "sensible" shake. Those who drank what they thought was the "indulgent" high-fat, high-calorie shake had a dramatically steeper decline in ghrelin after drinking it. Those who thought they were drinking the "sensible" low-fat, low-calorie calorie shake had a flat ghrelin response. The ghrelin response to perceived was consistent with what would be observed had the counts actually been that high or low.

"This study shows that can affect feelings of physical satiety," said lead author Alia J. Crum of the department of psychology at Yale. "The brain was tricked into either feeling full or feeling unsatisfied. That feeling depended on what people believed they were consuming, rather than what they actually were consuming."

Because elevated ghrelin levels can cause increased body weight and fat gain through increased caloric consumption, this study may open new avenues in the fight against by providing new insight into how the mind and body work together to impact responses to food. "What was most interesting," Crum said, "is that the results were somewhat counterintuitive. Consuming the shake thinking it was ‘indulgent' was healthier than thinking it was ‘sensible.' It led to a sharper reduction in ghrelin."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Get a grip: What your hand strength says about your marriage prospects and mortality

April 26, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia Aging Center found men with a stronger grip were more likely to be married than men with weaker grips. Grip strength was not a factor in ...

Taxing sweet snacks may bring greater health benefits than taxing sugar-sweetened drinks

April 26, 2018
Taxing sweet snacks could lead to broader reductions in the amount of sugar purchased than similar increases in the price of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), according to new research published in BMJ Open.

Community efforts to prevent teen problems have lasting benefits

April 26, 2018
Want to prevent kids from using drugs and make it stick into young adulthood? Get the community involved and intervene before they're teens, say researchers from the University of Washington.

Hearing aids linked to fewer hospital and ER visits by older adults

April 26, 2018
They cost thousands of dollars, and insurance almost never covers them. But hearing aids may hold the potential to cut older adults' visits to the hospital or emergency room, according to a new study.

Consuming protein supplements with meals may work better for weight control

April 25, 2018
A new systematic review of available evidence appearing in Nutrition Reviews indicates that consuming protein supplements with meals may be more effective at promoting weight control than consuming supplements between meals ...

Hair products for Black women contain mix of hazardous ingredients

April 25, 2018
A new report published today in the journal Environmental Research shows that Black women are potentially exposed to dozens of hazardous chemicals through the hair products they use.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

NANOBRAIN
not rated yet May 26, 2011
I predict that this will contribute to a cure.This will also help with many addictions.
NANOBRAIN!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.