When life goes wrong, it is food that comes to your rescue. Food which is giving you a sudden sense of pleasure. When you take a bite of your cheeseburger or get enveloped by the aroma of oranges, it hits your brain. The immense taste of the ingredients dissolving in the mouth gives a rush of hormones in the body. Ever wondered, why a sudden happiness overshadows your depressed soul? It’s the rush that makes you feel good from the inside. Even a single sip of chocolate milkshake can uplift your mood, want to know in other ways, how food enriches your mind?Well it’s all Food Psychology that revolves around it.
Here are some fun facts in the genre of Food Psychology:
American or French: it’s all about obsession and satisfaction:
What: Americans have a dysfunctional relationship with food. They get less pleasure from food. They are more obsessed with whether it is healthy or not. Whereas French enjoy their food wholeheartedly, as they eat slowly savouring every taste.
Your vicinity decides your tendency to eat:
What: When you get hold of a bag full of chips, do you get an urge of binging the whole packet?
Why: The size of the spoons and plates or the packet which we eat, effects our tendency to eat and not just hunger. When it hits our nerves, it never leaves. Our perception of how much we have eaten can make us feel more or less full, even if the amount of food is same.
A fat waiter makes you order large:
What: Our subconscious is shrewd, it knows how to manipulate. So when you are dieting, you try to seek a permission, a signal to overeat. Thus, when a fat waiter enters, your subconscious boost our esteem and encourages to choose junk.
Why: People are influenced by eating behaviour of those around them. In studies, people eat more when those around them eat more. We are indirectly influenced by our choices by the society called social norms.
You can predict their next order by their habits:
What: Best way to predict what food your friend is going to eat tomorrow is not by asking their preference but their habits.
Why: On average habits tend to trump our best intentions and even our state preferences.
You eat gigantically when you are distracted:
What: Eating is so routine that we easily zone out from the experience. When our mind wanders, our hands are shovelling faster and faster. People eat more when they are distracted like watching TV and talking with friends.
Why: When not focussing on our food, we tend to eat more and get less enjoyment from it. Thus, take small bites and pay more attention to what you are eating. This combats eating disorder and obesity.
Broken hearts tend to eat more:
What: Emotional eating is a term everyone experiences at least once in a lifetime.
Why: People in bad mood are likely to reach sugary and high-fat snacks. Negative emotions make people prefer a snack rather than proper meat and eat fewer veggies.
Are you a victim of depression? Befriend fruits and vegetables.
Why: Fruits and vegetables contain folates. These nutrients uplift our mood. 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables and make the depressed souls happy.
Twisting, licking and dunking make it more flavourful.
What: Rituals are predefined rules. If we follow rituals, we tend to enjoy the food to a far extent.
Why: Rituals are the mind controls. Consumers find it easy to walk on a regular path than a road less travelled. Therefore, our brain has a preset notion of the feeling the customer gets when they follow an already defined activity. This notion has been used by various food companies like oreo where they create a product that ritualises eating.
Two cheeseburgers are roughly equivalent to one orgasm.
Why: Dopamine triggers pleasure, Richards A. Rawson, PhD makes a cheeseburger orgasm calculation using the principle on Frontline. Cheeseburgers are a high source of fat and dopamine.
Sleeping poorly makes you crave fatty foods:
What: you are insomniac and fat because you sleep poorly.
Why: Ancestors says that fatty food interfere sleep, but it’s actually the vice versa. Fatty acids interfere with your neurology and malcify the synthesis of melatonin, which leads to sleep deprivation.
You won’t stop eating when there is a buffet:
What: Your plate is full, yet when you see other friend having a dish different than yours, you go to grab that dish as well. That’s the buffet effect, also known as cafeteria effect.
Why: If you have only one food in front of you, you will stop eating when you are full. But if someone brings you another plate with a different type of food on it, you are likely to keep eating. Fast food companies play into buffet effect to get you by more, offering all sort of add-ons and extras.
Bright colours increase your appetite:
What: Are you a stressed mother, hoping for a day when your child would be eating the oatmeal with a smile or a bunch of teenagers with their eyes stuck on the rainbow pastry? Our mouth drools when we see colourful food.
Why? Colour can trick our taste, therefore can affect the perception of how hungry we are. Food Companies can use the colour trick to attract the customers and make their food more appealing.
Eating an Idea is yummy:
What: Do you get a sudden urge to try an exotic flavour that rolls in the market? Even if it sounds gross, like salmon ice cream, you would not hesitate to try it.
Why: Conceptual consumption is our desire to tick boxes on our experiential CVs. It’s not just bragging but they also like the very idea of each of these things and they want to possess experience. It’s about self-image, people want to see themselves and be seen by others, as interesting people who choose the variety of different experiences for themselves.
Now, you know the secrets, go and apply them on yourself and others and live a healthy and stressfree life. ‘Cause mental wellness and food goes hand in hand. Your one step towards care, can do wonders.
Why don’t you try them out.