Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Our Brain On Food...
CNN recently posted an article about a research study comparing obese and normal weight individuals and their cognitive function. Although the study only involved 29 people I still think it's an interesting development.
I often hear my healthier friends talk about how sluggish they feel after having a "bad" meal. I know if I eat out and get something higher in sodium than usual I end up waking up in the middle of the night needing water. In my personal case it's more likely effecting my body than my brain, but repeated exposure to these high calorie, nutrient low foods might just have effect on our day to day functioning.
The study had individuals say the color of a word written on a screen. Some were easy while others were harder. For example the word "Blue" written in red with a red background. The study appears to show overweight and obese individuals brains struggled more to come up with the answers when compared to normal weight people.
Timothy Verstynen (one of the researchers with multiple colleagues) believe this increased effort can effect mental performance in day to day life. This includes food choices. If it takes more effort to make the right food choices, overweight individuals may not be making healthier choices. The research explains this can be a vicious cycle.
This reinforces the aspect of individuals not lacking food knowledge, but not applying knowledge when making food choices. Many people have read about nutrition or seem interested in making the right choices, but when it comes down to it the commitment to constantly choosing healthy foods can be daunting. It is for me and I have been in nutrition based classes for multiple years, and plan on making it my field.
It begs the question of what professionals can do to not only educate but help change the thought process about food for clients. What can we do to decrease the number of poor choices are people making? Is it even our responsibility. I think it is. If someone is coming to a dietitian for help and they are struggling with committing to their lifestyle, we need to have to skill set to help them.
Below is a link to the abstract I believe the article is based off. I could not find the entire article to read.