Is the Mind Even More Powerful than We Think?


As you know, my interests are eclectic. I just say this by way of introduction because you never know what I'll blog about, Tonight I just want to ruminate on the incredible power of the mind. I stumbled across a fascinating experiment in Nature magazine. The write-up is entitled, "Glucose metabolism responds to perceived sugar intake more than actual sugar intake."

You won't believe me if I try to summarize it, so I'm going to give you the full abstract:

"The authors examine study participants who have Type 2 diabetes to determine whether cognition affects glucose levels in contrast to widely held suppositions. Thirty participants who have type 2 diabetes consume beverages that have identical ingredients but have deceptive nutrition facts labels. Blood glucose levels measured four times before and after beverage consumption show that blood glucose levels increase when participants believe the beverage has high sugar content as portrayed on the labels. Also, individual eating behaviors and nutritional satisfaction are linked to changes in blood glucose levels. The study results support the concept of anticipatory budgeting on glucose metabolism. The findings provide pressing evidence for the psychobiological model of chronic disease, suggesting that psychological intervention programs may be important for diabetes management, beyond current programs in which type 2 diabetes is managed through diet, exercise, and medications only."

Do you find that as amazing as I do?

The literature of the article has more:

"In a pioneering work, chambermaids primed to view their work as a form of exercise showed weight loss, decreased Body Mass Index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, and a drop in blood pressure relative to a control group4. In another study, participants consumed milkshakes labeled to indicate higher or lower calories. As a result, peptide ghrelin patterns were then consistent with their perceptions rather than objective nutritional differences. In line with these findings, a recent study demonstrated that believing to follow a low-calorie diet (while in fact having an energy-balanced diet) leads to a body mass reduction. . . . These findings suggest that the brain in engaged in substantial metabolic and endocrine regulation based on anticipation of challenges and resource availability. This can contribute to an evolutionary advantage, as the expectation prepares the body to better cope with the anticipated event."

Not sure I agree with their conclusion. If the body is hoping to compensate for something it anticipates, we would have seen different results in these experiments. No, the body is not compensating--it is faithfully following what the mind believes is reality.

And that's the key word--faith. I won't pretend to completely understand faith, and I reject simplistic notions of "manifesting" that seem to be trendy these days, but at least in terms of our own body, what we believe is a very, very powerful thing.

And that means we must husband our faith--that is, what we believe should not be a product of chance, but a product of study and pondering. And even a product of choice. For example, the men who consumer porn are choosing to believe something about sex and about women--and they will reap as they have sown. They will get back in real bodily consequences what they have sown with their bad choices. We may be exposed to many beliefs in this fallen world, but we can choose not to believe, and not to act in such a way that a belief becomes ingrained in us. We have agency in this.

Therefore it is important that we choose wisely what to have faith in, for our body will react accordingly. Now, please, I am also not saying that you can "believe away" cancer or some such thing. No. We do not have complete control over what happens to our body, either. Even so, there is great power in faith and belief.

The mysteries of faith are deep, indeed. In our dark age, we only scratch the surface like a baby. But it is something worth pondering about . . . worth asking God to help you understand more.