What has food to do with free will?

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Food is, of course, an essential element in our existence. Even though the way we eat and what we eat has changed throughout history, the nutrients in plants, cereals and meat bring the same benefits to our bodies. But how can food impact our free will?

We, in our modern society, tend to believe that we are the builders of our own destiny. As rational beings, we make our own decisions, taking into account the potential outcome. Supposedly, there is no higher power that guides or influences us into choosing between multiple options.

What if I told you that your guts are the real decision-makers? That your stomach dictates your life?

It should come as no surprise. I am sure that you’ve noticed that you are more irritable when you are hungry and that you lack energy when you haven’t eaten what your body needed. On the other hand, you’ve probably experienced the feeling of well-being after a balanced and nutritious meal.

In Germany, at the Institute of Psychology of the University of Lubeck, Professor Doctor So Young Park wanted to demonstrate that the food we eat can influence free will.

Professor Young conducted a unique experiment. She gave the participants an imagination test. They had to decide between leaving with a little money or with no money at all. The trick was that their partner, a stranger to them, divided the money, but unequally. Then, the participants had to even accept the unfair deal or not. The participants served, apparently, the same breakfast. However, the nutrients differed from the first experiment to the other. The participants did not know which breakfast was healthier.

Results

The results of the experiment demonstrated that the subjects who had the protein-rich breakfast before the experiment were twice as much more tolerant. At the opposite end, the participants who had the sugary breakfast, were less keen on accepting the unfair deal. The entire experiment and other interesting information on how food impacts our brain can be found here.

Do you agree to these results? Do you believe that food impacts your free will? Or are you able to control your primary instincts and be aware of the chemistry of your body? After all, everything around us is chemistry, as my middle-school teacher used to say. There is no effect without a cause. Maybe, your (apparently) logical decisions are just a result of what is going on in your body.

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