How Food Affects Our Behavior

By Subodh / September 21, 2015

“You are what you eat”! This saying is very true. If you have observed your behavior and the foods that you had on that day, you would be able to find out that there exists an incredible strong bond between the two. There are days when you are very happy and generous; but you are impatient and judgmental the next day. Why is it so? It is all because of what you ate. The foods that you consume are responsible for your perceptions and actions in some really mysterious ways.

Let us see…

Food Affects Our Behavior

The Science

According to a study, children who indulge in a diet packed with additives could impact their school performances. What is more shocking is that such a food pattern could even lead to criminal behaviors and alcoholism in kids.

Yet another study suggests that a diet rich in starchy carbohydrates and high sugar could up the risk of depression, panic attacks, anger, and anxiety. If not controlled, it could even germinate a suicidal tendency in that person. Dr. Russell Blaylock, who conducted this study, suggest that such diets trigger excessive insulin secretion, leading to hypoglycemia. This causes the secretion of glutamate in extremely high doses, which triggers all the aforementioned mental conditions.

Repeated incidences of hypoglycemia could act as the precursor to neurodegenerative health conditions like Parkinson‘s and Alzheimer‘s disease. Hypoglycemic children are hyperactive and often showcase an aggressive behavior. In older people, hypoglycemia leads to mental confusion.

A Look Into The History

There was a time when people had the belief that food shared a very close relationship with the mood and health. If you were to refer to the words of the Father of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food”. Well said, right?

There was a time, somewhere during the medieval period, when people dug deep into the impact of food on human behavior. The findings were really interesting. While foods such as elderberries and dates served as mood enhancers, chicory and lettuce worked like tranquilizers. Eggs, beef, pomegranates, and apples adorned the roles of erotic stimulants.

Today

Countless studies have been conducted on humans and animals to find out how various foods impact the structure, physiology, and chemistry of the brain, in turn altering your behavior. And, most of these studies point out that the foods influence the neurotransmitter systems in the brain, thereby impacting your behavior.

Let us take a deeper look!

The Sweet Vs Bitter Behaviors

According to a study that appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Michael Robinson, a psychologist at the North Dakota State University, reported something very interesting. People who prefer sweet delicacies over the spicy, savory, bitter, and sour foods display softer nature. In short, people who love chocolates and candies go an extra mile to help others. According to Robinson, if you give the sweet lovers a slice of chocolate and ask them to volunteer, they would most probably say an yes.

dark chocolate

Kendall Eskine, who published a study in the Psychological Science, has deciphered the relationship between a “bad tasting” mouth and harsh behavior. According to him, “a bad taste in the mouth can literally induce harsh judgments about strangers”. His group conducted a study where the participants were served fruit punch or water or Swedish bitters. They were asked to read and judge certain narratives that described various behavioral lapses such as stealing books and accepting bribes. It was noticed that judgments of the people who consumed the bitters were quite harsh when compared to those who consumed fruit punch or water.

In short, if you eat foul and stale food, you are bound to have a foul mood.

How Does Food Impact Your Behavior To Such A Wide Extent?

Well, this is a question that needs to be answered. The nutritional facts, according to the studies, do not play any role in determining your behavior. Many studies suggest that just tasting is sufficient to change your behavior. The reason – food plays a quintessential role in our live, culturally and physically. Food is a part of every celebration and a holiday is always complete in the presence of a lush meal.

Many a time, looking at the pictures of the food could even impact your behavior. One of the studies conducted by Kendall Eskine reveals this. A group of people were divided into two. While one half was shown the organic food pictures, others were open to comfort foods like ice creams. When the results came it was noticed that people who were shown organic food depicted judgmental behavior than the ice cream group. This is definitely shocking, but Eskine has an explanation. According to Eskine, organic foods are related to nature, health, and environmentalism. The self-righteousness that people

How To Improve Your Behavior With Food?

protein food

You all now know that altering the food changes the behavior. Even though numerous researches and studies prevail on food-behavior relationship, the results are subjective in nature. So, in order to improve your behavior with food, strive to indulge in a diet that has all its components in the balanced way. Opt for more of whole grains, low sugar, adequate protein and fat, and moderate levels of carbohydrates. Ensure that you are also including various micronutrients like iron, thiamine, and omega-3 fatty acids in adequate amounts. You could also include mood boosting foods such as chocolate in moderate amounts.

The thumb rule is to avoid overdoing on anything and everything. So eat in a balanced way for that perfect mood!