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The Health Benefits of Eating with Pleasure

Are there health benefits of finding pleasure in eating? It sounds too good to be true! 

But the science backs it up. 

David Robson, author of “The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Transform Your Life”, speaks to a range of topics in the book, including how the mind and diet are connected. He believes it’s important to rethink our perception of weight and dieting, and to consider the health benefits of really enjoying food. 

Robson narrates his findings in this super interesting 5 minute reel, published on bbc.com: https://www.bbc.com/reel/video/p0brtrb1/why-pleasure-is-key-to-losing-weight

He outlines that our beliefs influence the way our bodies respond to food, and that it is possible that a simple change in mindset helps us control our weight. Our thoughts about food can change our appetite through a number of psychological and physiological pathways. 

He explains two processes that happen:

  • Sensors in the digestive system. Amazingly, the way the food is labelled can influence expectations. Memories of a low calorie health bar not being filling, leave us hungry (sometimes even more hungry than if we haven’t eaten it). Memories of a tasty treat leave us more satiated. But both have the same ingredients. Go figure!
  • Mindset can affect hormonal response to food. Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates hunger and typically falls after we’ve eaten. The hormone also reduces metabolism, which means that expectations of deprivation prevent your body from burning as much energy, making weight loss even harder. Robson gives an example of an experiment with a delicious milkshake and a more health-conscious juice, which are essentially the same drink. You can guess what happens!

Robson also explains that “our attitude also affects how quickly food moves through the digestive system and even the absorption of important nutrients, like iron. If you feel like you are being deprived, you may be getting less goodness from your food. ”.

He suggests harnessing these ‘expectation’ effects, by being mindful of how we approach each bite. And that when we are trying to lose weight we shouldn’t forget about the pleasure of eating. Also not to feel guilty about eating the occasional pizza or burger, as it’s counter-productive! 

Enjoy the BBC reel, and your dinner tonight! 


The Stable Team