Food and mood (Medium)


Scientific research into the relationship between what we eat and how we feel is growing. In this programme, we’ll be investigating the connection between our food and our mood. We’ll hear how healthy eating makes us feel better, and of course, we’ll be learning some new vocabulary as well.

This week’s question

How much of the body’s total energy is used up by the brain? Is it:

a) 10 percent

b) 20 percent

c) 30 percent

Listen to the programme to find out the answer. 


emotional eating
eating lots of food in response to emotional feelings instead of to hunger

the feeling that you want to eat food; the desire for food

grab and go
the activity of taking something quickly when you do not have much time

(slang) silly; crazy

roll your eyes
move your eyes upwards as a way of showing annoyance, boredom or disbelief

speaking or behaving towards someone as if they were stupid or unimportant

Cloze Test



Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. Im Sam.


Im Rob.


When someone feels sad or in a bad mood, they try to feel better by eating their favourite food… I usually go for a butter sandwich myself. Do you have a favourite comfort food, Rob?


Hmm, a cream chocolate eclair… Comfort food is a type of emotional eating  � eating of food because we feel sad, not because were hungry. But unfortunately, most comfort is high in carbohydrates and sugar and, after a few minutes, it leaves us even worse than before.


Today, scientific research into the relationship between what eat and how we feel is growing. In this programme, well be investigating the between our food and our mood. Well hear how healthy eating makes us feel , and of course, well be learning some new vocabulary as well.


Great! first I have a question for you, Sam. People who link what we eat how we feel make a simple argument: the food you eat supplies nutrients and to the brain, and the brain controls our emotions. Now, that might sound simplistic, the brain is a vital link in the connection between food and our mood. , Sam, my question is: how much of the bodys total energy is used up the brain? Is it:

a) 10 percent

b) 20 percent or

c) 30 ?


Hmmm, that's a good question. Ill say its a) 10 percent.

Right. Well, Ill reveal the answer later in the programme. Emotional eating is often by feelings of depression, anxiety or stress. Chef Danny Edwards, who has suffered with , works in one of the most stressful places imaginable - a busy restaurant kitchen. World Service programme, The Food Chain, asked Danny about his eating habits at work:

Danny Edwards

Actually, when youre working in a kitchen environment for long periods, your can become suppressed because you sometimes don't want to eat, or you don't feel you can stop and eat, and all of that. So, it very often is something on the go which obviously, as we know, is not great for us… you go for something thats quick, so hence why a lot of chefs have a bad diet.


Even though hes surrounded by food, Danny says that under stress actually decreases his appetite  � the feeling that you want to eat . In a busy kitchen theres no time for a sit-down meal, so Danny has grab and go  � take something quickly because he doesnt have much time, although knows this isnt very healthy.


So when even chefs have a difficult with food, what about the rest of us? Professor Felice Jacka, is an expert nutritional psychiatry. She studied the effect of eating a healthy diet  � food such fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, and olive oil  � on people suffering depression. Jacka found that the patients whose mental health improved were the same patients who also improved their diet.


But Professor Jackas ideas were not accepted by . Here, she explains to Jordan Dunbar, presenter of BBC World Services’, The Food Chain, the opposition her study faced from other doctors:

Prof Felice Jacka

So I to do this for my PhD study, and everyone thought I was a bit , you know, and there was quite a bit of, I guess, eye rolling maybe. not surprised by that because the discipline of psychiatry was very medication-- and brain-focused-.

Jordan Dunbar

What did people say in the field? Were they sceptical?

Prof Jacka

Oh, hugely sceptical and sometimes very patronising. But this again comes from the that general practitioners, psychiatrists, medical specialists get almost no nutrition training through all those of study.


When Professor Jacka investigated the link between food and mood, colleagues thought she was bananas  � a slang word meaning silly or crazy. They their eyes  � a phrase which describes the gesture of turning your eyes upwards express annoyance, boredom or disbelief.


Other colleagues were patronising  � they behaved her as if she were stupid or unimportant. Professor Jacka thinks this is because doctors have little or no training about nutrition and the effect of food on health. But her ground-breaking research, named ‘The Smile Trial’, has been successfully repeated elsewhere, showing the link between eating well and feeling good.


So the next youre feeling down and your brain is calling out for a donut, you might better eating an apple instead! And speaking of brains, Sam, its time to reveal answer to my question.


Yes, you asked me how much of the energy is used up by the brain. I guessed it was ten percent…

Well, I'm afraid you are wrong. In fact, around twenty percent of the bodys goes to feeding the brain, even though it only makes up two percent of total body weight. OK, lets recap the vocabulary weve learned from our discussion about eating - that's eating too much food because of how you feel, not because hungry.


Appetite is the desire to eat food.


If you and go, you take something quickly because you dont have much time.


someone bananas is slang for silly or crazy.


If you roll your , you move your eyes upwards to show you feel annoyed, bored or dont believe someone is telling you.


And finally, if someone is patronising you, they or behave towards you as if you were stupid or unimportant. That's the end our programme, dont forget to join us again soon for more topical discussion and vocabulary here at 6 Minute English. Bye everyone!


Bye bye!



created with the online Cloze Test Creator © 2009 Lucy Georges


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