04 Jan Brain Food
Suspect that mentally challenging work makes you overeat? You’re not imagining it.
Lead author of a study by The University of Alabama, William Neumeier says, “Previous studies have shown that mentally demanding tasks, such as a big test, deadlines or other mentally strenuous tasks we perform every day, affect the brain’s energy demands, and increases in food intake were observed following such tasks.”
The study had students complete a difficult exam and then either exercise or rest for 15 minutes. The students were then treated to an all-you-can-eat pizza lunch. The students who had relaxed after the exam ate 400kj more than their baseline intake, while those who exercised ate 100kj less than their baseline.
Researchers say the lactate (an energy source for the brain) produced during exercise may have replenished the students’ brain energy needs after the exam, reducing the need to overeat.
Words by Melissa Cowan / Photography by Thomas Kelly