So many of us are fascinated with improving our nutritional health – whether it’s more energy, less weight, more vitality, better digestion, less pain – food is a powerful place to experiment with different ways to make life on Earth a better experience. And yet, most of our nutritional “tweaking” is some version of changing our diet, using some new herbs or supplements, or maybe doing a cleanse. Seldom do we consider that by “changing our mind”, we can potentially change our nutritional status. This short video will give you some of the simple science that proves the intriguing power of mind over metabolism.
Hi, there. This is Marc David, founder and director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Let’s take a couple of minutes and make nutrition interesting for a change.
One way to make it interesting is to talk about how nutritional value of a food is given not just in the nutrient value that’s in the food itself, the vitamins, the minerals, etc. but nutritional value is given in what we bring to the table, meaning who you are. Now in specific we’re going to talk today about how your thought affect the digestion, the assimilation, and the nutrient value of a meal and how powerful the mind really is when it comes to mind over nutrition. Here’s what I mean. Scientist tells us that digestion actually begins in the mind and there is a fancy term called the cephalic phase digestive response, which is really taste, pleasure, aroma satisfaction and your visual of the meal.
So cephalic means “of the head.” Cephalic phase digestive response simply means that there is a head phase of digestion. So if you ever look at you favourite food and all of the sudden your mouth starts to water. That’s literally digestion beginning in your head, on your tongue, in your mouth, salivary enzymes getting ready to breakdown carbohydrate. Have you ever just thought about your favourite food and your stomach starts to churn? That’s digestion once again beginning in your mind with your brain thinking about your favourite food and then sending immediate signals to your gut for the stomach to start to muscularly contract and for enzymatic output in the gut to start to begin. So the mind is that powerful.
Now what’s interesting is when you subtotal up all the research, meta-analysis on cephalic phase digestive response what scientist tell us is that approximately 40%-60% of your metabolic power at any meal, meaning your digestive and your assimilative power at any meal comes from cephalic phase digestive response, the head phase digestion meaning taste, pleasure, aroma satisfaction and your visuals. Now do the math if you are not getting those you are metabolizing your meal at 40%-60% less efficiently. This is headline news. This should be on the front page of every nutrition magazine, New York Times. You name it. It’s so powerful. The implication is you can change the nutritional value of a meal without changing anything you eat but by changing you, the eater, meaning your presence, your awareness, your attention on the food. Am I getting pleasure? No. Let’s take this a step deeper talking about the power of the mind.
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You probably heard of the placebo effect.
I want to share with you my favorite placebo study ever and I’m going to tell you how this relates in a moment, so my favourite placebo study ever. In 1981 you can check out the reference, World Journal of Surgery. Scientists are testing a new chemotherapy. It’s injectable to one group of patients they give the actual chemotherapy.
So it’s a group of cancer patients on a hospital ward. So one group gets the actual therapy, another group gets a placebo chemotherapy i.e. placebo a fake, harmless, inert chemical substance. Why did they do this? Because by law drug companies have to test any new prescription drug against the placebo because approximately 50% of the cases you can get as much benefit or more from a placebo than the actual drug. That’s the mind bending statistics. So here’s all these cancer patients, one gets the actual chemotherapy, one gets the placebo. After a number of weeks, the patients who got the actual chemotherapy just about 100% of them have one of the more common side effect of chemotherapy they all lost their hair.
Thirty-one percent of the patients on the placebo chemotherapy lost their hair. Now all they were doing was getting an injection of a salt solution and they lost their hair. Why would they lose their hair? Have the association have cancer, go on chemotherapy, lose hair. What I want to suggest to you is the power of the mind is that strong that you could take a water injection, think it’s going to make you lose your hair and you do. What happens when you say you know something I shouldn’t eat that, it’s fattening or I shouldn’t eat that it’s bad for me or I shouldn’t eat that it causes mucus or I’m allergic to it. Now I’m not saying you’re going to eat poison and think it’s not going to kill you and it won’t. I’m saying there’s a grey zone in there where the mind is pretty powerful and it could influence the body.
Thoughts are amazing. Thinking is amazing. We’re on the mind body continuum.
Everything is affecting everything else. So check it out. What do you bring in to the table? What kind of thoughts, what kind of beliefs, what kind of concepts, what kind of emotionally charge energies do you bring to a meal or to a particular food and ask yourself might that be affecting how it impacts my body.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for tuning in.
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Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2014
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