New Food Economy keeps posting a behavioral economics finding that states your brain perceives more expensive food to be healthier than less expensive fast food.
Your brain is exactly right! This entirely explains the epidemics of diet-induced disease of the modern day.
It all goes back to the simple concept of supply and demand. Green things are abundant – your brain considers them cheap. Colorful things are scarce – your brain thinks they’re expensive. Fatty, sugary, and high-protein foods are all valuable. That’s why you can’t stay away from the Big Macs and ice cream. The same can be said for psychoactive compounds like caffeine and theanine.
How does this explain our modern epidemics? Governments, particularly the US government, subsidize toxic food production methods (for both planet and consumer) that make costly food valuable and cheap while abundant food becomes relatively expensive. That’s why your Big Mac and fries are insanely cheap and the salad is relatively expensive. Your brain is right – you’re getting a bargain.
Here is where your biology makes it’s big mistake. Your brain makes lots of assumptions that are essentially true. It sees a Big Mac and a grass-fed steak yet it can’t tell the difference. It also cannot tell the difference between wholesome grains and refined flours. We’ve innovated our way out of healthy food and fallen into toxic waste. Unfortunately our brains can’t tell the difference.
I’ll be speaking with Rachael Bonoan, PhD candidate at Tufts soon about how honey bees decide what to eat, and what this tells us about our own appetite. Stay tuned!