As part of Science Week 2020, neuroscientist Ian Robertson is sharing top tips to help us apply science to our day to day lives.

At some point in our lives, we all feel that we should go on a diet or at least watch what we're eating. In saying that, we all need a little treat sometimes. Somewhere in our brain though, a little voice is asking: Is this good for me?

So, what happens in your brain when you do something you know you shouldn't?

The hunger hormone ghrelin, which sits in your gut, signals to your brain that you're hungry, but this might not be a genuine need for food. 

Every one of us is a nest of brain and body habits. These habits can be actions, emotions, or thoughts. So, when you feel bored or stressed, you often feel hunger pangs.

While these feelings are genuine, what's actually happening is that your brain and body are being triggered into a physiological hunger state linked to your mood. You end up eating food that you don't actually need.

Ian's advice?

Don't beat yourself up for eating a treat. Instead, build new habits to take control of your hunger. For example, don't shop when you're hungry.

Then, build new habits for when you're feeling bored or fed up like going on a short walk or exercise routine.