Saturday, September 03, 2011

Taste vs habit

I subscribe to Science Daily, and have all articles they publish on health and living well delivered to me via my feed reader. There are always a whole lot of fascinating studies going on, if you're into that kind of thing.

This one caught my eye recently. The study demonstrated that moviegoers who habitually eat popcorn in the cinema will eat it even when it's a week old and stale. You can go read the article if you want more details, but the conclusion was that "When we've repeatedly eaten a particular food in a particular environment, our brain comes to associate the food with that environment and make us keep eating as long as those environmental cues are present..... People believe their eating behavior is largely activated by how food tastes.... But once we've formed an eating habit, we no longer care whether the food tastes good. We'll eat exactly the same amount, whether it's fresh or stale."

It's an interesting point, and confirms something that I've observed over the years. When I was in the early days of retraining my eating habits, I realised that I'd become used to eating whilst watching TV in the evenings. A few biscuits, some chocolate, a plate of toast; all surplus food that I didn't need after a perfectly adequate dinner. But breaking the habit seemed difficult - until I decided to get off the couch and take myself out for a walk, or keep busy doing something other than propping in front of the TV.

So if you're finding it a challenge to put the brakes on your unhealthy eating, take a look at the situations where it occurs and see if you can change your environment, at least for a while. That just may be the solution you've been looking for.


Update on the choc mousse: My recipe needs a little refining. Debstar will not be pleased to know that it did taste quite noticeably avocado-ish.

Meh, I ate it anyway. I'm renowned for eating weird food. Back to the lab...

1 comment:

Debstar said...

Thanks for letting me know Kek. Hubby doesn't like avocado either so it would be going straight to the bin in our house.

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