Mood, food and gut feeling


Weight, shape, and look of the body are very serious interconnected concerns in society. Dieting and exercise are normally prescribed to overcome the problem. But experience tells us that it is one of the most difficult prescriptions to follow for a long time. In most of the cases exercise stops after some weeks. Same is the case with dieting.

For all those who fall in this category there is good news. Various researches conducted have shown relations in food, eating habits, food choices and brain, emotions and gut. They appear to be much easier ways to control weight as one need not have to make any efforts on his or her own, the emotions, brain or gut can take care of that.

The first study shows that the way one thinks about food can have an impact on appetite. It shows that the brain can control eating behaviour and considering the long-term consequences of the food choices may help control food cravings.

The second study establishes relationship between one’s emotions and food choices. The research shows that emotional ability training improves food choices beyond a nutrition knowledge training programme. The study participants were trained in recognising basic emotions in them and in others. After the training when they were exposed to various food products and asked to notice what emotions they and others were experiencing, it was found that those who had received training were more likely to choose the healthy food.

The researchers claim that with better understanding about their feelings and how to use emotions to make people eat better, they are likely to be happier and healthier because they relate better to others and are more concerned with their overall well-being.

The third study focuses on the functioning of the gut. In addition to the known functions of digestion and expelling the waste, the gut acts a type of mini-brain, affecting the mood and appetite of a person. This new study goes a step ahead and suggests that it might also play a role in cravings for certain types of food.

Another study done on mice may help scientists to establish that the liver and brain communicate with each other which can help in regulating appetite. Scientists have been able to establish it only among mice. But these results would encourage them to do a similar study among human beings.

These studies involved limited number of people, but from the initial results they surely will be extended to bigger groups. No doubt, their larger success would help in controlling many diseases like obesity and diabetes. But the question is, will they show equal results when large numbers are involved? When it comes to emotions or thinking the possibility is that the results in the smaller group may not replicate in the larger groups.

If emotions and thinking can control eating habits, then the problem itself would not arise as the people on their own would easily control their over eating habits. All such studies then would be futile.

But that cannot happen. People will always need outside support to control their diets in the form of guidance or tablets, capsules and liquids. However, such studies are certainly helpful in attacking such problems from a holistic angle. They surely provide food for thought and new ideas and products and hence are important.

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