If you have a sweet tooth or love fatty, carb-heavy meals, you’ll know the reward of eating them is more than just in your stomach.
It sends endorphins through your brain, even just for a moment, telling you how enjoyable the experience of eating these foods is.
Now, there’s an app that can change that.
Scientific research has shown that fatty and sugary foods activate the brain’s reward system, stimulating the release of the chemical dopamine (which makes you feel pleasure).
The Food Trainer app, developed by the University of Exeter and available in New Zealand on Google Play (for Android only) store, trains your brain in 10 minutes a day to avoid unhealthy foods.
Essentially, the app is a simple game: pictures of healthy and unhealthy foods pop up on your smartphone screen, and you’re tasked to react only to the healthy images.
Professor Natalia Lawrence, a psychologist who worked on the app’s development, says this can re-train the brain to crave differently.
There is empirical evidence to suggest the app actually works, too.
University of Exeter studied 83 people playing the game for 10 minutes a day, four times a week, and each averaged to reduce their diet by 220 calories per day without any other intervention. That’s more than a Crunchie bar or a small packet of Maltesers.
The scientists are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to get the app developed for iPhone users as well.