Outsmart Your Biological Desire to Eat Sugar, Fat and Salt

I previously blogged that we all eat for non-homeostatic reasons; in fact, humans are biologically wired to prefer the tastes of salt, sugar and fat.

Further, research has shown that we are motivated to overeat when highly palatable foods are present and easily available, as well as when we are feeling stressed or emotional.

What wisdom can we draw from our biology? First, we naturally are driven to eat good tasting food especially if it is high fat, sugar and salt. And if these foods are easily available – we will eat more of them. In addition, when our brains are stressed and emotions running high we are driven to overeat our favorite comfort foods.

There is some power in knowing what drives your eating behaviors. When you know your weak points, you can create a plan to deal with them.

Outsmart your biology by:
• Renovating your environment to eliminate easy access to highly palatable foods. The “out of sight, out of mind (and mouth) does work much of the time. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable! Taking away easy access to your favorite treats will feel depriving but remind yourself that you are not saying you can’t eat those foods but rather decreasing the chance of mindless eating.

• Avoid expecting yourself to be a perfect eater. It is normal to enjoy highly palatable foods from time to time. If you struggle with eating them more than once and a while, switch your energy from feeling guilty to learning from the experience and create strategies for the future.

• Learning skills to help you be mindful of your eating practices so that you make more informed decisions.

• Learning the skills to be mindful of our emotions (even emotional discomforts) with our eating.

Some people can make these changes on their own while others find it beneficial to work with a support professional to help them. Consider getting support from one of our dietitians to provide the accountability and practical support you need to work on your goals.

March 13, 2012