We crave delicacies tired – whether self-discipline or not


FATIGUE, STRESS AND PRESSURE. Now the mind would do something good!

Specialist researcher Johanna Närväinen tells us that our mood strongly influences what and how much we eat.

When we are exhausted or down, our resources are scarce and we cannot make sensible decisions. That’s when many of us succumb to unhealthy treats.

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– We know from research that long-term stress affects our eating. That’s when comfort food is desired, and the body also begins to go into a mode of survival, craving fat and sugar.

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In the past, when there was a shortage of food, it was worthwhile for a person to eat fat and sugar whenever they were available. They had to be refueled especially when it was difficult.

– The problem is that currently there is no limited availability of fat or sugar, but we still have the same caveman genes, Närväinen describes.

Is food a pleasure or a fuel?

The expectation of pleasure, reinforced by a burst of dopamine in the brain, is particularly strong in those with a tendency to feel or eat emotionally. When they finally eat the expected delicacy, the pleasure becomes more dilute.

– Our personality is reflected in brain-level reactions. We are really different in this respect.

It is largely innate what kind of reactions delicacies cause in us. For one person, food is just fuel, for another one of the most important pleasures.

– Someone may be asking why you don’t have the self-discipline to avoid treats. However, the amount of self-discipline required is very different for different people, Närväinen reflects.

Absolute bans will not work for long

If you want to reduce your own delicacies, it is usually not worth denying yourself completely.

Out of a total ban, the craving for delicacies is likely to only increase.

However, a few pieces of chocolate may be enough to be enjoyed after a meal in good spirits.

– There must also be joy and delicacy in life. You shouldn’t call yourself out of it, Närväinen consoles.

Expert: Johanna Närväinen, Senior Research Fellow, VTT, Intelligent Health Team.

This article appeared in Good Health. As a subscriber, you can read all numbers free of charge from the digilehdet.fi service


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