Why I call the Human brain an “Errant Teenager” when it comes to Food

How the Human brain manipulates our gastric system into eating without us realizing

There is an old saying that, “The mind has a mind of its own”, and it couldn’t be truer when it comes to the issue of eating food. I usually describe the Human brain to my patients as an “Errant teenager” or a person’s “1st Child” because of its ability to completely trample or throw a fit over you when you refrain from eating your favorite food or start a low calorie diet plan sans your usual favorite food.


The Human brain has a side kick which is the stomach and it’s very easy for the brain to manipulate the stomach into eating as per its liking. The Human Brain has another major partner in crime which is the human tongue; the moment the brain thinks of its favorite food the tongue goes into hyper salivating mode and rests only when it is satiated. Similarly, the instance when the stomach experiences the growling sensation owing to hunger the tongue gets into its attention mode expecting food in return. The Human tongue is more of a catalyst between the stomach and the brain and the major benefactor between the tussle of the two. There are a few examples through which the above statement of mine can make more relevance”

Scenario 1: Imagine you have had a full body check up a few days ago and now you are at the path lab to collect your reports. You may experience butterflies in your tummy before opening the reports in anticipation. Though we are thinking (BRAIN involved) what the report might say we feel the reaction in the tummy.

Scenario 2: Imagine you are at a party and you have eaten till your stomach can’t adjust more food. Suddenly the host comes and offers you your favorite sweet dish like a brownie with vanilla ice cream/ Gulab jamun / Strawberry cheese cake, etc. Your stomach may prompt you to refuse the offer as the poor fellow has no space left but the mighty Human BRAIN will jump into play saying, “I have made a mental space. YOU EAT IT ❤.” The tongue gets into its active mode too expecting its favorite food to satiate it and the poor stomach becomes powerless over the might of the Brain and over eats.

At times, the stomach influences the Brain functioning too. For example:

Scenario 3: Imagine you are extremely hungry. In that case, you never experience stomach cramps, you usually experience mood changes like lack of concentration, anger, frustration, headaches etc.

Thus, the above examples effectively prove that both the brain and the stomach are partners in crime (highly interlinked at the neuronal level) and reflect in our behavior and choices respectively.

So whenever one engages in a new diet plan (low calorie) and simply avoids all of their favorite food because it is high in calories, the brain starts to think, “Let them follow it for a 1 month or two then I will see how they continue with the Low calorie diet plan. How can they not give me my favorite food? I shall get back to the old eating pattern in no time (evil laughter).”

People in most cases fail to comply with a new diet plan for a long period of time as the brain basically rejects any idea of change. It feels betrayed that the person is not giving the brain the satisfaction of having its favorite food.

Once the person has stopped practicing the new diet plan the brain goes into overdrive mode and prompts the person to eat every favorite food in excessive amounts to make up for the lost time.

So, then what is the way around for changing the diet for losing weight yet not let the brain derail you from your right eating? The Brain has to be simply psychologically manipulated into thinking it has eaten a lot.

I shall throw more light on this in my next piece. For now, dwell in the new found information that the human brain takes you for a ride regarding eating wrong most of the times without you realizing.

Published by yourdietcounsel

I am a clinical nutritionist and a certified diabetes educator, writing with the objective of inspiring people to love themselves more and live a better life by sharing my subject matter expertise and life’s experiences.

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