Is it actually possible to trick your brain into eating less? Yes, and it’s called the science of gastrophysics. Basically, it’s the idea that what you’re eating, and how satisfied you feel, has to do with what’s in your mind rather than what’s on your plate. The entire food & beverage experience has a lot of different factors that can play into it. Some of these factors include:
- The weight of your fork.
- The music on your playlist.
- The size, shape, and color of your plate.
This all plays a powerful role in what and how much you eat. There is a great book about this entire science, called Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating written by Charles Spence, Ph.D and it shows us all of these interesting little tidbits that play such a major role in our eating habits. Check out some of them below!
Use Less Sugar & Eat Off Of A White Plate
If you have a sweet tooth, this one is for you. Spence indicates that eating off of a white plate can actually magnify how sweet we find a food. Using less sugar automatically lowers how many calories and chemicals we’re putting in our body, reducing the amount that we actually eat. He cites a study in his book that showed people who ate the same dessert off of a white plate found it 10% sweeter than when it was served on a black plate. When the plate plays with your brain and tricks it into thinking your food is sweeter than it is, you can use less sugar to balance it all out!
Eat Addictive Snacks Off Of A Red Plate
Typically, red is a color used to indicate when people should stop. If you get addicted to salty, crunchy snacks then start to eat them off of a red plate because Spence found that people eat about half as much when they eat off of red flatware.
Hold Your Bowl In Your Hands
In his book, Spence tells us how our brains aren’t exactly able to differentiate between what is food and what is flatware. When you’re trying to eat healthy most people struggle with the fact that it doesn’t fill you up as much. Try tricking your brain into thinking you’re eating enough… If you’re having a bowl of soup, hold the bowl in your hands and your brain will register the weight of the bowl in addition to the soup itself, and you’ll feel a lot fuller after that meal.
Focus On Your Food
When you really focus on your food, you’ll get a lot more senses from it than simply the taste. You’ll have visual appeal, a sense of smell, everything! Remove distractions from around you, anything that takes your focus away from the meal at hand. Put your phone on silent as well. Get rid of the straw because a straw allows you to ingest more than you realize, inhale the food so your senses are running high, and let your senses tell you when to stop eating. Trust your brain!
Visualize yourself eating your meal before you eat it, and your brain might actually just think you DID eat it! In Spence’s book, he states how consistently visualizing yourself eating the same food over and over, you’ll stop craving it as much as time goes on. We can get on board with that.
Grab The Right Music
There’s a reason why nicer restaurants play slower music and fast food restaurants play music that has a much faster tempo. When the music is slow, people tend to take time eating their food, letting it digest, and ultimately eating much less than normal. When you’re eating with music that has a faster tempo, you tend to eat faster and ultimately eat more. Grab some nice, slow, relaxing music and eat dinner to that instead of your workout playlist and you’ll eat much less!
Name Your Food
When you give your food an actual name, like calling a dessert “sweet” can actually impact how sweet you think the dessert is. By tricking your brain into thinking your food is sweeter than it really is, you’ll be motivated to eat less because you’ll get your sweet tooth kick from less.