Neurosurgery and Brain Health How Your Brain Makes Food Decisions By Neurosurgery, July 14, 2015 It’s summer! You know what that means: sun, sand and… swimsuit season. Luckily you’ve been making healthy food decisions this whole year in preparation for these few months of sunshine… right? No? Okay, well you’re not fully to blame. It’s your brain. Your pesky brain has been making food decisions without your approval and — even worse — convincing you that they were your idea. In fact, the brain does this in various situations—95 percent of decisions are subconscious — but these executive decisions are increasingly significant when it comes to food. Food-related Decisions Did you know that you make more than 200 food-related decisions daily? When polled, people estimated that they made fifteen, but when monitored, an individual makes an average of 221 food decisions daily. This number is shocking — there’s no way you deliberate that much over the fruit cup or side salad — but when you factor in details like where, when, what, how much, and with whom, it’s easy to see how the thoughts add up. Did you know that you make more than 200 food-related decisions daily? Click To Tweet According to a study, brain activity precedes movements and even the decision to make those movements. In light of this, scientists have studied this process in terms of how the brain makes food decisions. The brain is able to comprehend information about taste more easily than information about health; taste is a familiar experience but health is a vague concept. As a result, we often go for the tasty but nutritionally deficient doughnut over the banana. Subconsciously, we prefer foods with higher caloric content (those survival instincts), are willing to pay more for them, and will even choose them over something tasty. Subconscious Food Decisions and Weight Management So how do these subconscious food decisions affect weight management? It differs from person to person, based on one’s self-control and understanding of health. It appears that those more concerned with losing or maintaining weight are more likely to eat based on the caloric content rather than health, often times leading to weight gain rather than loss. To maximize your potential for leading a healthy lifestyle, focus on the short and long-term benefits of a healthy lifestyle for motivation to change your behavior. It is important to understand the concepts of health and nutrition, and to think about them positively. By doing so, you will hopefully be motivated to change out your behavior and make healthier, happier food decisions! For more details on how and why your brain chooses food, check out this study by the Health Sciences Academy.