Easter may not be over yet, but did you know that all that chocolate could have a lasting impact? Scientists now believe that when we eat fattening foods the memory is stored in our long-term memory; the experience literally sticks in our minds. It is thought that this was an important survival mechanism for early humans so that they could remember where to find energy-rich foods.
But what about now, when those stray Easter eggs are still lurking around and within easy reach at any time? We are still left with the long-term memories of satisfaction but don’t have to search too hard to find the yummy treats. We are literally battling evolution to make the healthier choice.
The trick might be to take stock of what you have and think about either rationing it or getting rid of it - memories may eat into your willpower!
Slow down, you’re eating too fast
Research has shown that children who eat too fast, eat more, and therefore are more prone to obesity. It is believed that eating too fast interferes with the body’s signalling system that tells the brain that you are full, and to stop eating when the stomach becomes full. Experts have even developed a device called a ‘mandometer’ to slow your eating down – when used with children it showed that kids learned to eat slower and as a result felt fuller and ate less. There is no need for fancy devices; a good clock will do the job just as well. Aim to:
- Not ‘shovel’ your food
- Savour the flavour and make sure to taste your food
- Try to chew and swallow before picking up the next mouthful
Fast eating can also be a cause of indigestion – as food is not chewed properly this means your stomach has to do much more work, which can lead to a revolution, ie nasty indigestion and heartburn.
So what’s the rush – if you’ve made a nice meal, do it justice, and give it some time!
By Cara Cunningham, community dietitian. For more information on diet and nutrition, please contact the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster at (044 ) 9353220 or email [email protected].