You Can Make Yourself Favor Healthy Food

We're not born loving junk, says expert
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2014 12:22 PM CDT
You Can Make Yourself Favor Healthy Food
You may be able to teach yourself to love healthy food.   (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

It's tough to eat right when that bad-for-you food tastes so much better than the good stuff. But what if you actually liked healthy food more than junk? Such a reversal may be possible, a study suggests, via Time. "We don’t start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta," says researcher Susan Roberts. Instead, it's conditioning that trains us to enjoy the less-healthy snacks, she adds.

Roberts' team put eight study participants on a health-conscious diet combined with lessons on good eating. The subjects got half their energy from low-glycemic carbs and 25% from protein and fat, along with plenty of fiber. Another five subjects weren't on the diet. Brain scans eventually showed changes in the "healthy" group's addiction and learning centers, showing boosted sensitivity to better foods and decreased excitement over high-calorie snacks. So what can you do to brainwash yourself? Some suggestions, via Quartz:

  • Invent healthy variations of your favorite foods: For instance, turn to sugar-free ice cream and fiber-rich cereal to make an ice-cream sundae.
  • Get to know healthy foods you might not have liked as a kid—you may be surprised at your adult tastebuds.
  • Focus on your food. If you eat that sweet treat slowly, after a few bites, you may find you're not so desperate for it anymore. And avoid distractions while eating that might make you fail to realize you're full.
You might also consider indulging in fats—healthy ones, that is. (More food stories.)

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