According to a new study, a group of young adults were shown images of foods such as burgers, fries, and cheesecake without calorie information, and then with calorie information, and rated their desire to eat the food—all while a specialized MRI scanner recorded their brain activity. Participants were less interested in eating the foods labeled with calorie counts, and the brain scans showed less activity in the areas associated with reward and more in the areas associated with control. In other words, in environments like chain restaurants, which often use the lots of added sugar, salt, and fat to make dishes enticing, knowing calorie counts may nudge you toward better choices. Day to day, though, there’s no need to focus on calories if you’re eating a diet that’s full of fiber-rich veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, and other whole, delicious foods—and, more often than not, foregoing restaurant meals for the home-cooked variety.
Source: Calorie information and dieting status modulate reward and control activation during the evaluation of food images
“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” Hippocrates