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Fooling Your Hunger Hormone

April 28, 2016

Are you influenced by food labels? A new study suggests that the information they provide can determine the way your body responds to the food. Clinical psychologist Alia Crum prepared vanilla milkshakes and divided them up into two large batches. She labeled the shakes in one batch as containing 140 calories with no fat and no added sugar. The other batch (named Indulgence), displayed labels stating each shake contained 620 calories. In fact however, both batches provided 300 calories per shake. Before and after the study, participants drank their shakes and had measured their levels of the hormone ghrelin, secreted in the stomach.

Ghrelin levels rise when your body needs more food and fall when you’ve had enough. The ghrelin measurements revealed that levels of this hormone fell about three times more in participants who drank what they believed to be the high calorie “Indulgence” milkshake than they did in those who drank what they thought was a 140-calorie shake. All told, the study demonstrated that what we believe about the food we’re ingesting can influence the way our bodies behave. How about that!

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