We eat and drink the same food at the same time, and we have the same taste buds in the same places in our brains, researchers have found.
And we don’t need to do anything different.
That’s what a new study in The New York Times Magazine, The Conversation, and Scientific American finds.
Our brains are designed to get us the same meal, whether it’s in the kitchen or at the park, study researcher Amy Lipsky told Scientific American.
And this is where the new research has taken a new turn.
The paper, titled “Does Your Brain Make You Eat the Way You Do?” is based on a study of more than 200 people who were part of the Longitudinal Weight Loss Study (LWLS), a nationwide study of people who lost more than 15 percent of their body weight in the course of a year.
Each participant underwent a series of neuropsychological tests to help researchers determine their brains’ responses to food, drink, and exercise.
Participants’ brains were scanned after they had completed each of the tasks.
In all, the participants completed four tasks in which they were asked to identify three items: the color of a color wheel; the number of steps a person takes in a stair climb; and a specific phrase from the Bible.
The participants were then asked to fill out a questionnaire on their brain responses to each item, along with their age, gender, race, income, and educational attainment.
Participants were also asked to rate how satisfied they were with their eating habits.
Lipska and colleagues found that the participants’ brains responded to each of these items in exactly the same way.
Participants with more intense appetites for white and red foods, for example, tended to report feeling better about their eating.
But those with a less intense taste for red and white foods also tended to feel better about themselves, Lipski said.
Participants who reported eating a lot of red and orange food, for instance, tended not to report liking it.
The results of the study are based on three experiments: one where participants were asked, “How many calories did you eat in the last day?” and another where participants saw an image of a pizza and had to tell a friend who was seated next to them that they were eating the same pizza, according to the paper.
In both cases, the participant reported how much food they ate in the past day, and the person next to the participant who was eating the pizza also had to rate their experience.
After the participants finished the tasks, researchers then asked the participants how much they felt satisfied with their diets.
The result: Participants who ate a lot were more satisfied with themselves.
Lippedka explained that “our brains are very good at categorizing and labeling our eating habits, and that categorizing a food in a way that it’s like a cake or a pizza is something that’s very easy to do with taste and smell.”
The study also showed that participants who ate red and yellow foods, even when they had no taste buds, showed increased neural activity in their brains after completing the tasks in a similar way to those who ate white and blue foods.
Lippingka added that her team hopes that “the results of these brain imaging studies will lead to the development of new ways to encourage people to change their eating patterns.”
The findings may help explain why, even in the midst of the recession, people who are already struggling are sticking to the diet they’ve been following, and why the average American eats at least 1,300 calories a day.
But the researchers cautioned that it remains to be seen whether these findings will have a lasting impact on how Americans eat and how they feel about themselves.
In the meantime, there are still a number of foods that we still eat at home.
“The brain has evolved over billions of years to be able to recognize and respond to food,” Lipsk said.
“So it’s a little bit like, ‘Oh, this is a good thing.’
But the question is, ‘Does it make you feel good?'”
The takeaway, Lickska said, is that “it is important to get out there and make sure your food choices are as satisfying as you can.”
The full study is titled “Food is our friend: How the brain and the body respond to different foods.”