Are Your Decisions Based on What you Eat?


I read something strange the other day, something that really made me stop and think. It has been discovered that being hungry actually impairs your judgement.

Here are the articles that prompted this post.

“New research is discovering how metabolic state and the nutritional quality of food influence risk-taking and decision-making behaviours in animals and humans. The metabolic state can have a serious impact on risk-taking and decision-making in humans and animals…”

When Hunger Leads to Anger: Noticing External Influences on Mood

By Nate Kornell Ph.D

Internal states, like hunger, affect us more than we imagine.

The decision to grant a prisoner parole is not something to be taken lightly. It should be considered as seriously and objectively as possible. As a new study of Israeli judges shows, however, these decisions are influenced by a lot more than the lofty ideals of justice. They’re also influenced by snacks.

The researchers investigated the percentage of parole cases that were given favorable rulings. They found that as mornings wore on, the judges became less favorable. But after a meal break, they became more favorable again–followed by the same downward trajectory. The Economist has a figure that says it all: Hungry judges give less favorable rulings.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that people get grumpy when they are hungry. (There’s even a term for it: hangry.) But two things are interesting here. First, hunger had huge effects on a decision that should be, and presumably was, taken very seriously. The scale of the finding itself is pretty amazing. Second, like the judges in the study, most of us underestimate the effect hunger has on behavior.

Could this be why I have been having trouble concentrating lately? Ever since I reinstated the diet in order to take some of the weight from my ever-complaining hip, I have been unable to string any decent thoughts together. The more I try, the harder it seems to get.

The current WIP has suffered, and even the everyday stuff has been difficult to assimilate. Maybe we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of anything, in order to think and feel our absolute best?

I mean, we all know that a good meal usually leads to a good mood?

Anita has just reminded me that years ago many artists ended up starving in a garret somewhere. Makes you wonder which came first, poverty or starvation?

I can believe that depriving ourselves of anything will have a detrimental effect on our performance, as everything is more difficult if you are tired or hungry. I can still remember the torture when I tried to give up smoking. Luckily, a mild heart attack solved that problem and I stopped immediately!

Personally, I don’t want to revert to my previous gluttony for my arthritis demands there must be less of me. So, is there a solution to this quandary?

There has to be a way to convince my subconscious self that I am perfectly happy with the odd hunger pang, and that it needs to ignore the mountain of stress that erupts every now and then like Vesuvius.

Maybe then I can get back to writing 1000+ words a day!




25 thoughts on “Are Your Decisions Based on What you Eat?

  1. I think it’s to do with the type of food we eat. Foods that don’t have a high sugar/carb content do not cause the spikes and troughs in the blood sugar levels, which cause a craving for more sugar and tiredness. It’s all to do with eliminating sugar I think.

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  2. What a fascinating article. Perhaps try healthy snacks and see if that improves your concentration without derailing your diet. If you can find that sweet spot, I’d love to know. (My concentration hasn’t been great lately, either.)

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  3. Your post brings up some interesting premises. I believe most of them are true. It’s just like when crimes increase during extremely hot weather. How we feel, often affects are actions. I’ve also been dieting, and I can be a bear when I’m hungry.

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  4. What a fascinating post. I’ve just booked a 1:1 appointment with a nutritionist to try and sort my health out and include ‘proper’ snacks and foods in my daily diet. I’m always tired and sluggish which points to a sweet tooth!

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  5. There is a solution. A slice of apple. Yup, when the pang hits an apple signals the brain that you understand the need for nourishment and will get back to business. The brain doesn’t trust us to take care of ourselves. So it will continue to send disjointed messages until you assure it that you are a responsible caretaker of the body. Give it a try, Jaye.

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