Introduction to Psychology - Warren Wilson Inside Page

Hunger, Eating and
Or, how to lead yourself and others to a path of
healthier eating…
Eating well??
• Americans Are Flunking Easy Goals
For Healthier Eating
The public health plan hatched a decade ago was to get
three-quarters of Americans to eat at least two servings of
fruit a day and half of Americans to eat three or more
servings of vegetables.
The results for 2009 show that only 32.5 percent of adults
are hitting the mark for fruit and barely more than a
quarter — 26.3 percent — are getting the job done on
Eating behavior / preferences
• Write down:
– your favorite food(s)
– a food that is supposedly healthy,
but that you don’t like (or don’t think
you would like)
Eating behavior / preferences
–Where do we get these preferences
and habits? What influences our
eating behavior? (next slide)
Biological Influences:
Psychological Influences:
•mid-hypothalamic centers in the brain
monitoring appetite
•Appetite hormones
•Stomach pangs
•Set point weight
•Universal attraction to sweet and fat
•Adaptive wariness toward novel foods
•Sight and smell of food
•Variety of foods available
•Memory of time elapsed since last
meal (and clocks)
•Mood (e.g., bored, depressed,
•Golden Arches (and other cues)
Social-cultural influences:
•Culturally learned taste preferences and beliefs
•Food-toxic environment
•Status (e.g., meat = successful)
Basic physiological cues
• Body needs energy =
sends orexigenic
signal (tells brain to
switch hunger on)
– Ghrelin (hormone)
• Body has sufficient
energy = sends
anorexigenic signal
(tells brain to switch
hunger off)
– Leptin (hormone)
• Only sense
connected to
• Olfactory
neurons (350
• Strong cue for
emotion, and
• Taste buds (5 different types)
–Salt, sour, bitter, sweet, umami (savory)
–each contains several types of taste
receptors (microvilli) that react with tastant
molecules in food
But taste is determined by so much
• Cultural influences: Types of food that are “OK” to eat…
• Effects of Fast Food Branding on Young Children's
Taste Preferences Archives of Pediatrics &
Adolescent Medicine 2007; Pre-school children
preferred the taste of foods and drinks in McDonald's
packaging to the same foods and drinks in
unbranded packaging.
• Starting Good Food Habits in Kids from the
Womb, Oct. 06, 2009 Time Magazine
• Lighting Influences the Taste of Wine, New
Study Shows
Social/Cultural factors
in eating behavior
• Advertising / Expectations of what we “like”!
• Is it smart to get a full serving of veggies, or
whole grain pasta in a child’s tummy no matter
what -- even if it means you hide it behind
loads of salt, fat and sugar?
Stealth Health: Nudging Kids
Toward A Better Diet (Oct 25, 2010, NPR)
Should we address it directly and positively when
children are young?
(Luis and Elmo)
And/or should we use fear tactics?
(Man drinking fat)
Social/Cultural factors
in eating behavior
• Our food environment (cheap, hi-cal, loquality food available)
– Absence of supermarkets in lo-income
– Way too many of our calories are coming
from junk food (Sugar: 172 lbs/pp per year)
– Governmental subsidies (e.g., Zea Mays -a giant tropical grass)
– We are simply eating more (next slides)!
20 Years Ago
270 calories
5 cups
1700 calories
21 cups buttered
Americans love their burgers…
•The "Monster Thickburger"
— two 1/3-pound slabs of
Angus beef, four strips of
bacon, three slices of cheese
and mayonnaise on a
buttered sesame seed bun -1420 calories!
Social/Cultural Factors
in eating behavior:
Too much confusing and conflicting information
Paleolithic diet vs.
Atkins vs. Zone
“In defense of
food” (M. Pollan)
Pyramid vs.
Healthy Eating
Pyramid (Harvard)
Slow food, fast
food, no food, ???
– What is the
impact on the
Social/Cultural Factors
in eating behavior
“We live in a toxic environment. It’s like trying to treat
an alcoholic in a town where there’s a bar every ten
feet. Bad food is cheap, heavily promoted, and
engineered to taste good. Healthy food is hard to
get, not promoted, and expensive.
If you came down from Mars and saw all this, what else
would you predict except an obesity epidemic?” -Dr. Kelly Brownell, Yale, (Nat’l Geo. Article:
The heavy cost of fat, 2004)
(Obesity Trends, CDC slides)
Quick review of nutrition
• Macronutrients
– (1) Carbohydrates
• Macronutrients
– (2) Fats
Fats (cont.)
– Fats (Fatty Acids)
• Saturated (SFAs) – limit these
• Monounsaturated (MUFAs) – better choice
• Polyunsaturated – (PUFAs) – consider the Omega3 / Omega-6 balance
• Trans-fat (avoid) – (hydrogenated)
What we eat
• Macronutrients
– (3) Proteins
• Vitamins
– 13 known vitamins, classified as either fatsoluble (A, D, E, K) or water-soluble (B and C)
– C & E are antioxidants
• Minerals
– Inorganic elements (e.g., calcium -- for muscle
contractions, nerve transmission)
• Phytochemicals
– Bioactive chemicals found in
plants with potential healthpromoting qualities (e.g., antiinflammatory, anti-oxidant)
• Flavonoids -- compounds found
in fruits, vegetables, and certain
beverages that (e.g., Queretin, a
potent antioxidant -- free radical
scavenging activity)
• Eat these in their natural forms!
We can make fundamental changes!
Mens sana in corpore sano
 Eat for psychological and physiological
e.g., Consider the impact of diet on mood/behavior (for you and
for those for whom you are a leader)
 Early exposure to a variety of foods (lots of
colors in the diet)
 School-lunch programs, Community
 Keep it simple! (e.g., Pollan’s advice: “Eat
food, not too much, mostly plants)
If you were doing one thing that was contributing to:
•Poorer personal health
•Spread of disease
•Deforestation & erosion
•Fresh water scarcity
Would you
change that
one thing?
•Air and water pollution
•Climate change
•Biodiversity loss
•Maltreatment of animals/humans
•Social injustice
•Destabilization of communities
That one thing is
products that
come from
factory farms.
Diet and the environment: CAFOs
Impact of diet on:
Holistic health: Diet and the
Good News!! Eating a diet that is healthy
for me and for my group is better for the
health of the planet
Be aware of the impact of your personal dietary choices
(on yourself and on your students).
Educate others by example through compassionate
leadership and activism
Keep it simple: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants
Organizations to learn more…