The proof is in the pudding

Gary L Wenk

Oxford University Press

2015 | 212pp | £16.99

ISBN 9780199393275

If you want to know why you will experience hallucinations after eating a whole pot of nutmeg, Gary Wenk’s new book, Your brain on food, is certainly for you.

Your brain on food guides you through how certain foods affect the behaviour of neurons and how these changes may influence your behaviour. Although this book is aimed at people with knowledge of chemistry and biology, several detailed references are made to anatomical regions and chemical structures, it has a fantastic introduction that eases you into the complexity of the human brain. 

I was fascinated to learn how chronically eating fats can actually change the way your brain perceives food. The book will teach you a great deal about why humans eat – you will discover why we always have room for dessert after devouring an extensive meal, for instance. And who would have thought that at a buffet you subconsciously prevent others getting to the food due to innate primitive instincts? In a world obsessed with diet this book is incredibly timely. 

Wenk describes how memories and addiction are affected and caused by materials that we consume, and discusses the magic tricks that our mind plays on us after eating such substances. Another section on Alzheimer’s disease was particularly close to my heart and I enjoyed learning more about the disease’s affect on emotions. As an aside, the book could have benefited from additional diagrams or chemical structures, but this is just a minor criticism.

I really enjoyed reading this book and was pleased to finally find a piece that discusses the impact of diet without the need to over inflate the truth to sell a ‘wonder product’.

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