Help clients build that summer body. SAVE 30% on The Science of Core Training Certificate (9 CECs). Use Code CORECERT SAVE 30% Now »

Mind Over Milkshakes: How Your Mindset Guides Physical Response to Food

by Sandy Todd Webster on May 16, 2014

Mindful Eating

Can your mind fool your physiology into believing you’ve either eaten something very healthy—or done the opposite? A study from Columbia Business School postdoctoral research scholar Alia Crum says yes.

Crum set out to test whether physiological satiation, as measured by the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, varies according to the mindset with which one approaches food consumption. When ghrelin levels rise in the stomach, the brain is cued to seek food, and metabolism slows. After ghrelin levels rise and you eat a large meal, your ghrelin levels drop, signaling satiety and boosting metabolism.

The study abstract explains that on two separate occasions, 46 participants consumed the same 380-calorie milkshake under the guise that it was either a very “indulgent” 620-calorie concoction or a “sensible” 140-calorie shake. Ghrelin was measured via intravenous blood samples at three time markers: baseline (20 min); anticipation (60 minutes); and postconsumption (90 minutes). During the first interval (between 20 and 60 minutes), participants were asked to view and rate the (misleading) label of the milkshake. During the second interval (between 60 and 90 minutes), they were asked to drink and rate the shake.

The mindset of indulgence produced a dramatically steeper decline in ghrelin after subjects consumed the shake, whereas the mindset of sensibility produced a relatively flat ghrelin response. Satiety was consistent with what participants believed they were consuming rather than with the actual nutritional value of the food they’d consumed.


Want more from Sandy Todd Webster?

IDEA Food and Nutrition Tips, Volume 3, Issue 3

Find the Perfect Job

More jobs, more applicants and more visits than any other fitness industry job board.

© 2014 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.