Category Archives: Food Psychology

Examining psychological factors that affect the way we perceive and consume food.

What is Food Psychology?

girl eating pizza

Food psychology is the study of the mental processes behind how and why we eat. While we might think of food consumption primarily from a biological perspective, research has shown that our eating habits are significantly influenced by our perception of food as well as various other social and environmental stimuli. Continue reading

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Serving Size just as influential on Food Intake as Taste

portion size mattersEating fresh, tasty food can bring a measure of delight and satisfaction to just about anyone’s life. Eating is fun. And given a larger portion of whatever it is that we enjoy eating, we likely expect ourselves to consume more. That’s logical. That’s a no brainer. But how willing would you be to scarf down stale food that is over 2 weeks old? “Not very – that’s disgusting,” you might think. Well, think again. Continue reading

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Beware the Sinister side of Low-Fat Foods

low fat strawberry yogurtWhat on earth could be bad about eating low-fat foods? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Food psychologists Brian Wansink and Pierre Chandon (2006) have discovered that foods labeled as “low fat” can lead to increased consumption and contribute significantly to obesity. How does that happen? The researchers point to two major reasons:

  1. Low fat foods increase perceptions of the appropriate serving size
  2. Low fat foods decrease consumption guilt

In their study, Wansink and Chandon (2006) showed that “all people – particularly those who are overweight – eat more calories of snack food when it is labeled as low fat than when it is labeled as regular.” Food nutrition labels can provide both objective and subjective consumption cues. Objective labels tell us exactly how much of a particular food constitutes a single serving and discreetly packaged items such as a 12 ounce can of soda, make the recommended serving size pretty obvious. Continue reading

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Sexy Names Make Food Tastier

steamed fish plateCalling all cooks! Food psychologists have discovered a whole new ingredient which can add some extra zing to all your culinary creations! Research shows that using evocative and descriptive menu labels can actually improve a diner’s perception of a meal, provided the food was of reasonable quality. Continue reading

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