The Science Behind Eating

While our ancestors ate for survival, we have a lot of reasons to eat these days. Aside from being hungry, we may eat because we’re angry, bored, stressed, depressed, watching a movie, busy, not busy enough or with friends (the list goes on).There are five brain chemicals that influence our emotions, when we eat, what we eat, and how much of it.

Norepinephrine:

the “fight-or-flight” hormone. It literally told our ancestors whether they should fight off a predator or run away.

Serotonin:

This neurotransmitter makes you feel good. It’s a major target of antidepressant drugs.

Dopamine:

This neurotransmitter’s pleasure-and-reward system is sensitive to addictions. It helps you feel no pain.

GABA:

Also known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, this amino acid makes you feel like a zombie. It’s one of the ways anesthesia may work to decrease your responsiveness to the world.

Nitric oxide:

This is the meditation-like chemical that calms you. This neuropeptide is usually a very short-lived gas that relaxes the blood vessels of the body.

So how do all these chemicals work to determine if you choose an apple or slice of apple pie? When your serotonin transmitters fire signals, they tell your brain you feel good. But when the brain takes the serotonin and starts breaking it down, that oh-so-good feeling you’ve been experiencing will disappear.

For many of us, we want to choose a food that will quickly make you feel good, to counteract this drop. Which foods will give you this rush? Anything with lots of sugar will give you a jolt and stimulate the release of serotonin. The chemical downfall can make you anxious and seek simple carbs.Knowing how your emotions affect your brain chemistry and food cravings will help you have more control over your food choices.

The goal is to keep your feel-good hormones stable. This way you’re consistently satisfied without the hormonal highs and lows that could make you lose control of your beautiful body.