Researchers at the University of Exeter created mathematical models to determine how effective it is to “listen to your gut.” They found that animal models that use a lot of brain power to tell them how to act are just as successful as animal models that get cues from their stomachs on how to act.
By considering your energy reserves, or the food in your stomach, your body understands how successful it has been at finding food in the past. In turn, it signals to the brain how to act (i.e. “Feed me now!”), without the brain having to process a lot of complex information.
“Our model explains why there is link between our gut and our decisions,” Andrew Higginson, a behavioral scientist at the University of Exeter said in a press release. “Hunger can act as a memory telling us there’s not been much food around…The usefulness of such memory means that animals, including humans, may appear to be processing a great deal of information in the brain when in fact they are just following their gut.”