What the experts say – Your mindset influences taste and choice in food. A study published in July 2011 by theNationalCenter for Biotechnology Information shows that foods labeled “diet”, “reduced fat”, “lowfat”, or “lowcalorie”, can actually lead you to consume more. (approx 25% more) When the levels of energy in the body become low your stomach produces a peptide called ghrelin which signals hunger pangs in the brain. When food is consumed the levels of ghrelin go down which produces the sense of satiation. The study was simple. 46 participants were asked to enjoy 2 sessions a week apart of free milkshake tasting. The only catch was that they had to read and rate the label and the taste of the milkshake. The participants were led to believe that they had received 2 different milkshakes, but in reality the only difference was the label. Long story short, the food labeled “low-calorie did not reduce the required levels of ghrelin in order for the subjects to feel psychologically satisfied. “In such cases, people tend to consume more food and are hence at risk of developing obesity.”
How I did it. – No, I did not throw away all the food labeled in this way. I just made sure that I treated all food exactly the same. Food is fuel no more and no less. It’s not a reward and you don’t “deserve” to be able to pig out because you “enter random reason here.” This was a huge struggle for me because I had fostered an unhealthy relationship with food and had fallen for the marketing like a cheerleader goes for quarterbacks. I wanted to be able to eat until I was full and be assured that it was ok because I was consuming fewer calories when exactly the opposite was true. I was consuming more. One of the tricks of the trade is to replace the fat in low-fat foods with sugar. So the amount of fat is truly reduced but the carbohydrates have increased and can actually lead to food having higher caloric values than the foods not labeled “low fat.” Moral of the story for me?
i. Food is fuel
ii. Be present in your choices
iii. Marketers are not your friends
iv. Relationships are with people not food