by Steve MazzolaThe best thing to eat when you’re not busy is a good meal, but that’s not what’s important, according to a study from a university in Canada.
In a recent article published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers studied how the brains of five young adults responded to a food choice experiment.
In one, a group of volunteers sat in a cafeteria.
After an hour, they were asked to eat a meal of chicken wings.
In another, a more relaxed experiment, volunteers were presented with a choice of chicken strips, bread and cookies.
After about 10 minutes, a second group of participants were asked a separate question: What were you eating?
In both cases, participants were told that their brain had already processed the information about the food choices, and so they weren’t going to make any further decisions about the foods.
But they were also told that if they tried to eat anything else after a while, they would be in for some serious punishment.
The researchers found that, as expected, people’s brains reacted more strongly to the choices made by the people in the experimental group than to the options of the other two groups.
This suggests that people are reacting to cues about what to eat in a way that differs from what happens in a conscious decision, the researchers say.
This may explain why people don’t seem to notice that they’re eating chicken wings in the cafeteria.
“This suggests that the conscious decision is more involved,” study co-author Matthew Gaudet, a professor of psychology at McMaster University, said in a statement.
“It may be that the person is reacting to a cognitive process, rather than an intentional decision to eat, and therefore is less aware of the consequences of that decision.”
The study involved 12 volunteers who all had a similar age and BMI.
They all ate at different times throughout the day, and all were given the same food.
The researchers found, as before, that when people were told they had to eat something, their brain began processing the information differently.
Some areas of the brain were activated in the experiment, but they were not immediately triggered, so the participants could not immediately determine which part of their brain was actually involved in the decision.
Instead, researchers took the participants’ brains and asked them to repeat the experiment on a second day, with different choices of food.
Participants were asked which of the choices they chose was more satisfying.
They also were asked whether they would still eat that chicken wing, if they knew that the food choice was a lie.
After repeated choices of the same chicken wing choice, participants’ brain activity returned to normal.
But their brain response to the second choice remained unchanged.
In fact, participants did not react in the same way to the choice of cookies as they did to the chicken wing.
The results show that the brain is reacting in a different way to cues that are about food than to cues of conscious decision.
They indicate that the more information that is processed, the less the brain reacts to it.
The brain is also reacting differently to cues for what to be satisfied by.
“These results suggest that there is a kind of unconscious processing of the food and food cues,” Gaudets said.
“The important point is that the responses of the human brain are very different from those of other animals,” he said.
“This suggests the brain processes food in a very different way from the way other animals process food.”