At a recent conference in Wexford of the Psychological Society of Ireland, Ian McKenna of NUI Maynooth gave a lecture on the power of the unconscious in relation to food and the signals it sends out to us. He carried out an experiment involving 128 people with one half considered normal weight and the other half with an average BMI of 50, which would be considered obese.
As a result of various images of healthy and unhealthy foods being shown with each person having not eaten for two hours – the results showed that people of normal weight found images of healthy food made them hungry while those categorised as overweight or obese found images of unhealthy food made them hungry. (Irish Times, Monday, Nov 9)
While there might be many flaws to this kind of experiment it does suggest that if we habitually consume too much food or food that is unhealthy for our bodies, we do adapt to a pattern of continuing to ingest the food that is damaging to us in spite of how we look and feel. Something has broken down in the journey from food as nutrition and health and pleasure to food that feeds a need to satiate or comfort or numb out. Could we start a food revolution like Jamie Oliver?