This app tricks your brain into liking healthy food instead of junk food
Three months into the new year, I, like millions of other people, have already broken my resolution. Well to be honest, I broke it quite some time ago. My resolution for 2017 was to eat healthy and cut down on my junk food intake. Having tried all the diets in the book and miserably failing every time, it wasn't until very recently when I discovered the FoodT app.
FoodT (short for Food Trainer) is an app-based game brought to you by the University of Exeter that trains the brain to stop craving unhealthy food. Repeatedly playing the game helps the brain differentiate between certain food categories and build associations that eventually help you cut down on the greasy, fatty, unhealthy food.
So how does this mystical app, which will help you change your eating behavior, actually work?
Pictures flash up that include both healthy and unhealthy food. The goal is to react by pressing on the screen when a healthy food, encircled by a green border, appears and refrain when an unhealthy food, encircled by a red border, appears. The game allows you to pick up to three main foods that you are trying to reduce intake of that show up frequently on the game.
Having such a simple approach, to some it might be sheer genius and for some, it might be utter rubbish. My first thoughts: the latter. However, upon using the app, my views gradually shifted to the former.
The game is based on the concept of “response inhibition training” to reduce overeating and drinking and prevents user from impulsively reaching for such food items. The “stop” instead of “go” response approach reduces activation of the motor cortex in the brain that controls our movements and decreased the reward value of certain foods and alcohol.
The game is already proving to be quite a success on the Android platform with close to 100K downloads. Unfortunately, iOS users might have to wait longer to get their hands on this app as the company behind the app is looking for crowdfunding to create the iOS app.
And… That’s it!