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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Home is where the healthy meal is

New study finds home setting nurtures better food choices

Can a cozy dining table and nice music prompt people to reach for the greens and go light on dessert?

From the 28 July 2011 Eureka news alert

So suggests a new study probing why people tend to eat more-nutritious meals at home than away from home. The findings, based on data from 160 women who reported their emotional states before and after meals, add to mounting evidence that psychological factors may help override humans’ wired-in preference for high-fat, sugary foods.

“Over the course of evolution in a world of food scarcity, humans and animals alike have been biologically programmed to elicit more powerful food reward responses to high-caloric foods” than to less-fattening fare, the study notes. Given those hard-wired urges, it may not be enough to understand that broccoli is better for the waistline than French fries. Home is known to be where people feel most content, and the positive emotions often associated with home-cooked meals may be part of the recipe for a healthy diet, the researchers indicate.

The findings, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that people who are in a good mood at home tend to prepare healthier meals – and feel more emotionally rewarded after eating them. That cycle of positive reinforcement was more pronounced at home than elsewhere.

The report, by Prof. Ji Lu of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Catherine Huet, and Prof.. Laurette Dubé of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, concludes that “the home is a privileged environment that nurtures healthy eating and in which healthier food choices trigger and are triggered by more positive emotions.”

July 29, 2011 - Posted by | Nutrition | ,

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