Psychology of Eating

Just out of my Psychology of eating seminar and wanted to jot down a couple of new things I’ve learned.

We were talking about Flavor-Flavor learning- you can learn to like a certain food/flavor by pairing it with the flavor you already like (adding sugar [sweet flavor] to oatmeal). This is quite useful to humans as a “short cut” for eating foods that are safe and energy dense and avoiding potentially harmful ones= sweetness is preferred since in nature a fruit would also have an array of valuable micronutrients important for health; bitter taste is disliked since it is associated with poisonous foods, etc.

Either way, here are a couple of interesting facts I learned today-

CALCIUM makes things taste bitter; thus lots of leafy-green vegetables are not liked by people. But you can learn to like them if you pair these vegetables with, for example, sweetness or fats (think of a green smoothie kale+banana+nut butter).

ImageAlso, adding sugar to bitter foods makes them taste less bitter; adding sour- more bitter.

Most recent meal is associated with fullness, so if you eat a regular meal followed by dessert- you will associate dessert with fullness. To associate healthier foods with satiety, eat dessert first! 🙂 

It is important to remember that virtually ALL of our food preferences are learned rather than innate, so you can teach yourself to eat healthier by liking it more!

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