Mayur Deshpande
  Personal trainer in Mumbai
Psychology & FitnessFood Choices and Human Psychology

Psychological Fitness

Food Choices and Human Psychology


What is the Co-relation between food & Psychology?

What is food and how dose the food choice develop.?

Which factors affect the development of food choices?


What is the Co-relation between food & Psychology?

The nature of a healthy food or good diet has changed dramatically over the years. But currently it is considered healthy in terms of its basic constituents: - CHO, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibers & water. Healthy food or healthy eating is considered important as it impacts on healthy in 2 main ways:-
• A healthy diet can be protective against the development of physical & mental illness while an unhealthy diet may contribute towards disease.
• It can help to manage or treat much physiological & psychological illness once a diagnosis has been made.

Effect of food on the development of human psychology.

This has been clearly argued by Rozin in 1982 who stated that "There is no doubt that the best predictor of the food preferences, habits & attitudes of any particular human would be information about his ethnic group . .. . Rather than any biological thesauri that one might imagine. The mind and the body is inextricably linked, this is more apparent when you go on a particular diet. Geared to survive during feast or famine, both body and mind switch into survival mode when the food supply is radically diminished. While the body turn down the metabolism & becomes a "Slow burner" in an attempt to hang on to every single calorie the mind gears itself to one overriding purpose getting food.
After a few days of extremely restricting yours food, you will become more depressed and unserious. Although this may be due to changes in neurotransmitters likes' serotonin, it may also occur because you are depriving yourself of things that are very pleasurable that aren't replaced by anything else - leaving a pleasure avoid. You may suddenly prefer to spend more time alone because it takes too much energy to deal with other - and yourself esteem may start to drop. Unfortunately the person become more depressed, unserious and isolated and the more he will obsess about food. So it shows that proper eating habits and balanced diet regulates metabolism, develop alertness and concentration and make you physically and mentally fit.


What is food and how dose the food choice develop.?

Food is not only what you eat but it is also a symbol of cultural identity in terms of religion and social power. It also represents the prestige, status and wealth. It is a means of communication and interpersonal relations; it is also a medicine for the different physiological states like pregnancy, lactation, menstruation and some diseases like diarrhea, dyspepsia and general ill health.


Which factors affect the development of food choices?

1) Social Factors
2) Psycho Physiological Factors

1) Social Factors

• Culture and Religion:- Food plays a central role within any culture and is loaded with a multitude of meaning. It can act as a form of social interaction, communicate love, power and conflicts concentrating health and pleasure. It can also communicate cultural norms in the form of religion and social power.Food choice and preferences are influenced by the eating behavior of others such as parents, friends and media images.
• Economic Status:- Economic status is also an important factor for food preference for e.g. lower class cannot afford drinking ? liter milk in a day which is recommended for a normal person they will prefer buttermilk instead because of cost difference.
• Availability of food:- Availability (Production) of particular food in that specific area is also a factor for food choice because the food which is cultivated in the same region where you live is available easily on low cost. For example consumption of fish is more in coastal area than the other places and if you eating the same type of food since childhood it becomes your culture.
• Nutritional Awareness:- Education and knowledge about the nutritional aspects of any food makes difference in the food choice or preference. If the person does not know the importance of any nutrient in your body and medical practitioner suggested him to have that nutrient in the form of that particular food items then he will become more conscious about the food selection.

2) Psycho Physiological Factors
It mainly focuses on hunger and satiety, as hunger is a state or motivation which drives to eat and satiety is just opposite to that: the motivation or desire or conscious feeling that enough food has been consumed. So the phychophysiological factors are the factors which affect directly on hunger and satiety value.
• Chemical Senses:- Appearance, odour and taste are the main chemical aspects considered while food selection. Appearance and odour make a great impact on hunger and taste affect directly to the satiety. Poor appearance of food reduces the hunger and stomach become full with small amount of food only.
• Food and Mood:- Studies have proved that some people eat more when they are happy just for cheer up and on other side dieters may also overeat as a way of shifting responsibility for their negative mood from uncontrollable aspects of their lives to their eating behavior. This is because of hyper or hypo secretion of the hormones secreted by the hypothalamus which are responsible for the senses of hunger and satiety.
• Petrochemicals:- The study of the impact of drugs on food choice provides a means to understand the heurochemical basis for hunger and satiety.
1) Effect of recreational drugs:- Drugs likes nicotine has been shown to decrease food intake in animals and studies also shows that their affect is more with highly palatable foods. Other than nicotine drugs like Amphetamines are also shown to reduce food intake and hunger. Other recreational drugs include marijuana alcohol and cigarettes all of which influence food intake but the effects are still contradictory.
2) Effect of antidepressants:- Previously the treatment of depression involved the use of tricycles antidepressant and studies shown that it has a small effect on hunger and is associated with a craving for sweet food and weight gain. But recently the treatment involves SSRTS which does not appear to induce either weight gain or an increased desire for sweet foods and may even promote weight loss.
3) Effect of Analgesics: These drugs are used for pain relief and have been shown to influence hunger and satiety.
4) Effect of Suppressants:- Some drugs like fenfluoranaine and dexfenfluramine have been shown to have a consistent depressant affect on hunger and to reduce food intake. In addition to these hormones of the small intestine like Choloscystokinin have been shown to inhabit food intake.