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How to eat healthy? Just identify your emotions!

Posted:  Friday, November 21, 2014

Eating many a times is an emotional exercise as people celebrate events or mourn debacles with generous amounts of food. This has given rise to many lifestyle diseases.

American researchers have explored this emotional connection with food choices and found out that training people to be aware of their emotions is a better way to help them resist from making unhealthy food choices.

Published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the study included two groups. One group of participants were given general training to recognise basic emotions in themselves and in others, whereas the second group did not receive any training. The trained group were then exposed to a variety of food products and packaging, and asked to observe the emotions that they and others were experiencing.

Post training, the trained and non-trained participants were asked to choose a snack between a healthy item and a bar of chocolate. The researchers found that those who received training were most likely to choose the healthy snack. When both the set of participants were weighed after 3 months, the researchers found that the trained participants had on an average lost weight, whereas the non-trained participants put on weight.

"We not only demonstrate that emotional ability is trainable and that food choices can be enhanced, but also that emotional ability training improves food choices beyond a nutrition knowledge training program," said the researchers.

Although consumer education programmes about nutrition are beneficial, being aware of one’s emotions at the dining table could the 1st step towards healthy eating.

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