The power of positive thinking

NPR screenshot of nutrition label

It happens to all of us. We read the nutrition label on a tub of ice cream and silently think, "This is really fattening. I shouldn't eat it." The siren song of the mint chocolate chip is irresistable, however, so we succumb. But before you eat the next scoop, you may want to think about it in a more positive way, as this NPR article explains.

According to Alia Crum, a clinical psychologist who performs research at the Columbia Business School in New York, when we pore over food labels, we often think about what ingredients are good or bad for us but we don't consider how the label itself might affect us. Crum had a thought: what if the information we glean from nutrition facts could physically change what happens to us - "whether these labels get under the skin literally," she says, "and actually affect the body's physiological processing of the nutrients that are consumed."

So Crum conducted an experiment, mixing up a batch of milkshakes that was divided into two containers that were labeled differently from each other. One was labeled as rich and decadent, the other as low-calorie and low-fat. The experiment yielded startling results. If a participant thought she was drinking the rich shake, a hormone level responsible for telling the brain when it's time to look for food dropped three times as much as someone who thought she was drinking the "sensible" shake.

While the results of this study don't mean the actual food we eat is not important, it does suggest that our mindset regarding food matters. More studies are needed to make a determination about how much influence our thoughts may have.

2 Comments

  • boardingace  on  4/19/2014 at 3:37 PM

    Fascinating! I follow the "French Diet" of eating very small portions of delicious, often high-fat foods, so this definitely validates why we feel satiated with less. Thanks for sharing :)

  • UmarFarooq086  on  7/23/2014 at 6:00 AM

    This <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LZ5DKOW">The Power Of Positive Thinking</a> Is a great book :) You should try this (Y)

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