Do You Eat What You Know You Should Be Eating?

May 31, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Do You Eat What You Know You Should Be Eating?
There appears to be a very large disconnect between what a person knows they should be eating and what they tend to eat. New research is demonstrating that emotional states of feeling, otherwise known as stress eating1, take priority over logic when it comes to consuming food.

The researchers coined the phrase “Consumer Emotional Intelligence,” apparently to define the lack of IQ required to eat what you know you are not supposed to on a regular basis.

In all the years I've helped people with weight loss there are very few I have met that did not know the basics of good food compared to junk food. Changing the core urges to eat junk and replacing those urges with a desire to eat healthy food in moderation is key to successful weight management.

The core problem is that unpleasant feelings in the present equal pain, to a greater or lesser degree, in your subconscious brain. Eating not only provides a “pleasure burst” in your brain it also temporarily turns off your liver's stress response. You must learn to effectively manage cravings for improper food.

While current life can certainly be stressful, much of the problem is triggering core food acquisition patterns that were developed while in the womb and as a young child. In essence, the more unstable, stressful, or painful such times were the greater the difficulty with stress eating in your current situation.

Understanding the nature of this issue helps. Using nutrients to manage stress helps your brain rise above the stress-eating pain threshold – meaning you are able to maintain better stress tolerance, better mood, and more of a subjective feeling of being in control. Even if your life is chaotic or contains lots of stress, you must find a combination of nutrients and stress management skills so that you FEEL more in charge.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Emotions and Eating  Journal of Consumer Research  Blair Kidwell, David M. Hardesty, and Terry L. Childers

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