We all know that spending hours sitting in front of a computer screen playing games isn't good for your health, but what if there was a gaming app that helped you shed pounds and eat healthier? No, I'm not talking about a game that make you exercise (like Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution) either.
This game has less to do with exercising and more to do with changing how your brain views sweets. Psychologists at the University of Exeter have developed a game that works to retrain your brain and stop sugary and fatty foods from activating your mental reward system.
Right now, these foods trigger a release of dopamine and endorphins whenever they're consumed. So it can be hard to say no to a doughnut when the chemicals in your brain are screaming, "Yes please!" FoodT, the food trainer app spearheaded by Professor Natalia Lawrence, works to correct this chemical reward and redirect it to associate healthy foods with the same reward.
By playing the game for 10 minutes a day, FoodT helped a study group of 83 adults cut out an average of 220 calories from their daily diets. The game's premise is simple: healthy and unhealthy foods both flash on the screen, but players must only click on the healthy foods to earn points. It turns out that just learning to ignore unhealthy foods is enough to retrain our brains to go for the banana over the ice cream.
For those interested in testing the app out for themselves, there's some good news and some bad news. If you have an android phone, you're in luck -- FoodT is available to download now. If you're Team iPhone, you're going to have to wait a bit longer to retrain your brain with this app. The University of Exeter team is currently fundraising to bring the game to Apple's app store, but they've got a bit more money to raise before they have the necessary funds.