A recent Yale university study suggests that mindset can have a profound impact on how satisfied you feel after eating, as well as how likely you are to have a second or third helping.
In order to measure feelings of satiety or satisfaction after eating, the researchers measured levels of a hormone found in the gut called ghrelin. This hormone is at its highest levels when a person is hungry and drops after the meal is finished. If ghrelin levels are especially high, it is more likely that a person will eat too much.
The Yale study participants were given a 380-calorie milkshake. Some were told that it had a sensible 140 calories, while others were given to believe that it packed an indulgent 620 calories.
Interestingly, the ghrelin levels of those subjects who believed that they had consumed the high-fat treat fell dramatically as compared to people who believed they had partaken of a low-calorie shake.
Alia J. Crum, lead researcher and faculty member of the department of psychology at Yale, believes that this research shows the power of the mind when it comes to appetite. We can actually fool our brains into feeling full or hungry, depending on what we believe we have eaten.
Crum actually finds the study’s results to fly in the face of what we might expect. After all, subjects who believed they had consumed a higher-calorie item then reduced their ghrelin levels.
This Yale research suggests that we still have a great deal to learn about the complex interaction between the body and the mind. Once we understand this link more completely, we may be better able to arrive at strategies to combat obesity.