Digestive physiologists tell us that indeed, digestion begins in the mind.
There is a scientific term called the cephalic phase digestive response.
This is a fancy way of saying that there’s a component of digestion that begins in the head. Cephalic indeed means “of the head.”
The cephalic phase digestive response is essentially the components of taste, pleasure, aroma, satisfaction, and the visuals of a meal.
Think of a time when you looked at a favorite food and your mouth started to water.
That’s the cephalic phase digestive response in action – you’re producing more saliva and salivary amylase just by a visual cue.
Or think of a time when you even thought about your favorite food and your stomach started to churn and get all excited – once again, that’s a clear-cut case of the mind preparing stomach acid and stomach contractions simply when we think of a food.
The bottom line is this:
The brain and its thinking have far-reaching effects in nutritional metabolism.
Now what’s interesting is that when you sum up all the research on the cephalic phase digestive response and do a meta-analysis of all the studies, what science tells us is that approximately 40 to 60% of our metabolic power at any meal, meaning our digestive and assimilative ability, comes from the head phase of digestion – meaning taste, pleasure, aroma, satisfaction, and visual cues.
So let’s do the math.
If we’re not receiving and experiencing the head phase of digestion, then we’re metabolizing our meal at 40 to 60% less efficiency.
That’s headline news.
This should be on the front page of every health magazine, in the science section of every newspaper, and prominently displayed on every nutrition-related website.
The implication is that you can change the nutritional value of a meal without changing anything you eat, but by changing you, the eater.
Meaning as we become more present, more aware, pay attention to our food, enjoy it, and receive pleasure from it – then we literally empower our metabolism.

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Emily Rosen is the co-owner and CEO of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating where she oversees business development strategies, student affairs, marketing and public relations, and keeps a pulse on the fields of eating psychology and nutrition to ensure the Institute’s position as a leader worldwide. Emily makes things happen. Her passion for health and transformation has provided her the opportunity to speak and present internationally and be at the forefront of a new generation of women leaders committed to making a heartfelt difference in the world. Her tireless work and faithful commitment have touched the lives of millions of fans and followers worldwide.