How you eat matters too

You know that what you eat matters. If you’ve read my blogs or, any blog on eating healthy, it’s crystal clear that what you put in your body is critical to your health. More greens. Less processed. And organic or local where you can.   

But did you know how you eat matters too? Well, it does. In fact, how you eat is just as important as what you eat. Science has shown (repeatedly) that the way a meal smells, looks, and tastes to you impacts nutrient absorption and satiety in the body. And these researchers even have a fancy term for this process – the cephalic phase digestive response, or CPDR.

Cephalic means “of the head”, which makes sense as CPDR prepares the body for digestion, absorption, and use of food based on your sensory responses to it. Your body needs to know what your meal smells like to you, what you see, how the food tastes to you if it’s to aptly turn on your digestive response. If it does not receive these signals, it will not maximize the digestion, absorption or use your food. In fact, it’ll miss the maximization mark by quite a bit. Unfortunately, most of us miss the mark. And we do so because we multitask when we eat, or, rather, we eat mindlessly.

Your digestive response starts in your head. So, if you’re not present when you eat, your health suffers. Your cephalic response controls as much as 30-40% of your digestive response. If we do the math, and CPDR accounts for 30-40% of your digestion, when you eat mindlessly, you only absorb 60-70% of a meal or snack’s nutrients and you only metabolize 60-70% of it properly. This is clearly a problem and partially explains why you’re hungry an hour after lunch at your desk, why you can eat a whole bag of chips during an episode of Real Housewives and even why you get cravings.

The good news is that you’re not a slave to mindless eating – even with your busy schedule. You can take control of how you eat by simply eating when you eat. That means focusing on your food when you chow down. You can do that by shutting off the monitor during lunch (or better yet, walking away from your computer all together). Or eating your breakfast at home instead of in the car. Or taking two minutes to savor your snacks. These small acts will make you more aware of your food, which will likely mean you need less food to be satisfied. If one of your goals is to lose weight, this is BFD. So, slow down and take some time to eat when you’re eating. Like I said, how you eat is just as important as what you eat.