Struggling to make decisions and think rationally when you’re hungry? New research conducted by Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg says you might not be alone.
It’s all due to a little hormone produced in the stomach when you’re hungry. This crazy little hormone called ghrelin has been shown to have a negative effect on decision making capabilities and impulse control. Tests conducted on rats by the University of Gothenburg showed showed that restricting ghrelin effects to the ventral tegmental area, the part of the brain that is a crucial component of the reward system, was sufficient to make the rats more impulsive. “Importantly, when we blocked ghrelin, the impulsive behaviour was greatly reduced," says Karolina Skibicka. Even a short period of fasting, a more natural way of increasing the release of ghrelin, increased impulsive behaviour.
Ghrelin could be the key reason why so many people opt for unhealthy food options when they are feeling really hungry. Your ability to see the negative health effects of what you’re eating are affected by amount of ghrelin present in your body.
It’s a simple equation - the more hungry you get, the greater the risk are of you making poor food decisions. This goes for grocery shopping as well. If you’re hungry as you push your trolley down the aisles, you may be more tempted to fill it up with sweets, chips and other impulse items rather than make the healthier choices you had originally intended.
To combat the ghrelin, before your body begins to produce it, we recommend keeping some healthy snacks in arms reach at the office or in your bag. Here at Glow For Life, we are fans of mixed nuts, dried organic fruit and ABC butter (Almond, Cashew, Brazil Nut).
Next time you are starving hungry, and reaching for a burger or chocolate bar, remember that is the ghrelin, almost like a Gremlin, that is hijacking your food choice. Be aware, and pick up the nuts instead!
To read the full article on the study from University of Gothenburg click here.