Armelagos, G. J. (2014) "Brain Evolution, the Determinates of Food Choice, and the Omnivore's Dilemma", , 12 pages. doi: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 10.1080/10408398.2011.635817. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/104... Abstract▼ A coevolutionary paradigm using a biocultural perspective can help to unravel the complex interactions that led to the contemporary pattern of eating. Evolutionary history helps to understand the adaptation of diet and its nutritional implications. Anatomical and behavioral changes linked to changing dietary patterns in the Paleolithic resulted in an adaptive framework that affects modern diet. The evolution of an expanding brain, a shrinking large intestine, and lengthening small intestine necessitated a demand for nutritionally dense foods. The key to these changes is an understanding of the response to the omnivore's dilemma. Omnivores in their search for new items to feed their varied diet (neophilia) have a challenge when they fear (neophobia) novel items that may be poisonous and can cause death. The inborn mechanism initiates palate fatigue (sensory-specific satiety) ensuring a variety of foods will be eaten. Variety will limit the impact of toxins ingested and provide a more balanced diet. The development of cuisine, a momentous event in history, mediated the conflict, and changed the course of human evolution. The cuisine, a biocultural construct, defines which items found in nature are edible, how these products are transformed into food, the flavors used to add a sensory dimension to foods, and rules of eating or etiquette. Etiquette defines how, when, and with whom we eat. Patterns of eating in the modern setting are the end product of the way that Homo sapiens evolved and resolved the omnivore's dilemma. Control of fire and cooking expanded the range of available foods by creating a class of foods that are "predigested." An essential element to the evolution of the human diet was the transition to agriculture as the primary mode of subsistence. The Neolithic revolution dramatically narrowed the dietary niche by decreasing the variety of available foods, with the shift to intensive agriculture creating a dramatic decline in human nutrition. The recent industrialization of the world food system has resulted in a nutritional transition in which developing nations are simultaneously experiencing undernutrition and obesity. In addition, an abundance of inexpensive, high-density foods laden with sugar and fats is available to a population that expends little energy to obtain such large numbers of calories. Furthermore, the abundant variety of ultraprocessed foods overrides the sensory-specific satiety mechanism leading to overconsumption. Bernstein, D. M. & Loftus, E. F. (2009) "The Consequences of False Memories for Food Preferences and Choices", , 5 pages. doi: Perspectives on Psychological Science 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01113.x. Abstract▼ False memories, or memories for events that never occurred, have been documented in the real world and in the laboratory. In the real world, false memories involving trauma and abuse have resulted in real-life consequences. In the laboratory, researchers have just begun to study the consequences of false memories. We review this laboratory-based work and show how false memories for food-related experiences (e.g., becoming ill after eating egg salad) can lead to attitudinal and behavioral consequences (e.g., lowered self-reported preference for and decreased consumption of egg salad). Block, L. G. (2013) "Food Decision Making", , 1 page. doi: Journal of Consumer Research 10.1086/669343. Abstract▼ As consumers navigating the food-rich environments in which we live, we are faced daily, if not hourly with questions: Can I eat this? Should I eat that? Why did I eat so much of this? Not surprisingly, the centrality of food to consumers’ emotional, physical, and psychological well-being, overlaid with a societal focus on our increasingly obesogenic environment, has given rise to a substantial body of research that explores the inherent tension in our relationships with food and food decision making. Such research applies a broad range of theoretical perspectives to bring insight into consumers’ food decision making. The articles selected for this special collection represent the spectrum of internal and external motivational drivers, and the social, psychological, and stimulus-based contextual factors that influence our food decision making. Consumer research on individual food decision making is helping us understand the current paradox of consumption: why today’s consumers, despite higher levels of food and nutrition literacy than ever before, and a national obsession with calories, fat, and BMI, are struggling with overconsumption. As a body of research, studies like the ones collected here are helping in the move from the paternalistic, normative, and not-effective model of “food as health” toward a new paradigm of “food as well-being.” Brochu, P. M. & Dovidio, J. F. (2014) "Would You Like Fries (380 Calories) with That? Menu Labeling Mitigates the Impact of Weight-Based Stereotype Threat on Food Choice", , 8 pages. doi: Social Psychological and Personality Science 10.1177/1948550613499941. http://spp.sagepub.com/cgi/co... Abstract▼ Policies that focus on self-regulation are being implemented to reduce obesity. One policy is menu labeling, the provision of calorie information on restaurant menus, which has evidenced mixed results. To illuminate the role of psychological processes, we examined the effect of weight-based stereotype threat on food choice as a function of body mass index (BMI). In Study 1, participants under stereotype threat ordered food containing more calories from a conventional menu that did not present calorie information as BMI increased, whereas no association between BMI and calories was found in the control (no threat) condition. In Study 2, participants under stereotype threat ordered more calories from a conventional menu as BMI increased, whereas no association between BMI and calories was found among participants who ordered from a calorie menu, demonstrating that menu labeling eliminated the stereotype threat effect. Theoretical and practical implications for stereotype threat and policy interventions are discussed. Chen, X. & Yang, X. (2014) "Does Food Environment Influence Food Choices? A Geographical Analysis Through “Tweets”", , 8 pages. doi: Applied Geography 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.04.003. http://www.sciencedirect.com/... Abstract▼ Objective: Obesity is an enormous public health problem and children have been particularly highlighted for intervention. Of notable concern is the fast-food consumption of children . However, we know very little about how children or their parents make fast-food choices, including how they respond to mandatory calorie labeling. We examined children's and adolescents’ fast-food choice and the influence of calorie labels in low-income communities in New York City (NYC) and in a comparison city (Newark, NJ). Design: Natural experiment: Survey and receipt data were collected from low-income areas in NYC, and Newark, NJ (as a comparison city), before and after mandatory labeling began in NYC. Study restaurants included four of the largest chains located in NYC and Newark: McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Subjects: A total of 349 children and adolescents aged 1–17 years who visited the restaurants with their parents (69%) or alone (31%) before or after labeling was introduced. In total, 90% were from racial or ethnic minority groups. Results: We found no statistically significant differences in calories purchased before and after labeling; many adolescents reported noticing calorie labels after their introduction (57% in NYC) and a few considered the information when ordering (9%). Approximately 35% of adolescents ate fast food six or more times per week and 72% of adolescents reported that taste was the most important factor in their meal selection. Adolescents in our sample reported that parents have some influence on their meal selection. Conclusions: Adolescents in low-income communities notice calorie information at similar rates as adults, although they report being slightly less responsive to it than adults. We did not find evidence that labeling influenced adolescent food choice or parental food choices for children in this population. Clydesdale, F. M. (1993) "Color as a Factor in Food Choice", , 19 pages. doi: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 10.1080/10408399309527614. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/104... Abstract▼ From birth, nature teaches us to make judgements on our environment based in large measure on color. As such, it plays a key role in food choice by influencing taste thresholds, sweetness perception, food preference, pleasantness, and acceptability. Its role is elusive and difficult to quantify, however, which at times has placed color in a secondary role to the other sensory characteristics, a position not entirely consistent with the facts. Color, in a quantitative sense, has been shown to be able to replace sugar and still maintain sweetness perception in flavored foods. It interferes with judgments of flavor intensity and identification and in so doing has been shown to dramatically influence the pleasantness and acceptability of foods. Studies in the literature have used cross-sectional population panels to study these effects, but a recent investigation of color-sensory interactions in beverages has compared the response of a college age group with the response of a panel consisting of a more mature population. Interestingly, the older group showed significant differences from the college age group in their response to the effects of color on several sensory parameters as well as showing a direct correlation between beverage consumption and color. Color is often taken for granted, but this position must be reevaluated in view of such studies and the need to create more appealing foods for different segments of our society. Elbel, B., Gyamfi, J. & Kersh, R. (2011) "Child and Adolescent Fast-Food Choice and the Influence of Calorie Labeling: A Natural Experiment", , 8 pages. International Journal of Obesity http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ijo... Abstract▼ Objective: Obesity is an enormous public health problem and children have been particularly highlighted for intervention. Of notable concern is the fast-food consumption of children . However, we know very little about how children or their parents make fast-food choices, including how they respond to mandatory calorie labeling. We examined children's and adolescents’ fast-food choice and the influence of calorie labels in low-income communities in New York City (NYC) and in a comparison city (Newark, NJ). Design: Natural experiment: Survey and receipt data were collected from low-income areas in NYC, and Newark, NJ (as a comparison city), before and after mandatory labeling began in NYC. Study restaurants included four of the largest chains located in NYC and Newark: McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Subjects: A total of 349 children and adolescents aged 1–17 years who visited the restaurants with their parents (69%) or alone (31%) before or after labeling was introduced. In total, 90% were from racial or ethnic minority groups. Results: We found no statistically significant differences in calories purchased before and after labeling; many adolescents reported noticing calorie labels after their introduction (57% in NYC) and a few considered the information when ordering (9%). Approximately 35% of adolescents ate fast food six or more times per week and 72% of adolescents reported that taste was the most important factor in their meal selection. Adolescents in our sample reported that parents have some influence on their meal selection. Conclusions: Adolescents in low-income communities notice calorie information at similar rates as adults, although they report being slightly less responsive to it than adults. We did not find evidence that labeling influenced adolescent food choice or parental food choices for children in this population. Epstein, L., Temple, J., Roemmich, J. & Bouton, M. E. (2009) "Habituation as a Determinant of Human Food Intake", , 24 pages. doi: Psychological Review 10.1037/a0015074. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... Abstract▼ Research has shown that animals and humans habituate on a variety of behavioral and physiological responses to repeated presentations of food cues, and habituation is related to amount of food consumed and cessation of eating. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of experimental paradigms used to study habituation, integrate a theoretical approach to habituation to food based on memory and associative conditioning models, and review research on factors that influence habituation. Individual differences in habituation as they related to obesity and eating disorders are reviewed, along with research on how individual differences in memory can influence habituation. Other associative conditioning approaches to ingestive behavior are reviewed, as well as how habituation provides novel approaches to preventing or treating obesity. Finally, new directions for habituation research are presented. Habituation provides a novel theoretical framework from which to understand factors that regulate ingestive behavior. Gardner, M. P., Wansink, B., Kim, J. & Park, S. (2014) "Better Moods for Better Eating?: How Mood Influences Food Choice", , 16 pages. doi: Journal of Consumer Psychology 10.1016/j.jcps.2014.01.002. http://www.sciencedirect.com/... Abstract▼ How do moods influence one's preference for foods? By introducing the role of enjoyment- versus health-oriented benefits of foods in the mood and food consumption relationship, this research informs both temporal construal theory and mood management framework by positing that mood influences the choice between healthy versus indulgent foods through its impact on temporal construal, which alters the weights people put on long-term health benefits versus short-term mood management benefits when making choices. The results from four experiments show that a positive mood cues distal, abstract construal and increases the salience of long-term goals such as health, leading to greater preference for healthy foods over indulgent foods. The results also show that a negative mood cues proximal construal and increases the salience of immediate, concrete goals such as mood management, leading to greater preference for indulgent foods over healthy foods. Geier, A. B., Rozin, P. & Doros, G. (2006) "Unit Bias: A New Heuristic That Helps Explain the Effect of Portion Size on Food Intake", , 5 pages. doi: Psychological Science 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01738.x. Abstract▼ People seem to think that a unit of some entity (with certain constraints) is the appropriate and optimal amount. We refer to this heuristic as unit bias. We illustrate unit bias by demonstrating large effects of unit segmentation, a form of portion control, on food intake. Thus, people choose, and presumably eat, much greater weights of Tootsie Rolls and pretzels when offered a large as opposed to a small unit size (and given the option of taking as many units as they choose at no monetary cost). Additionally, they consume substantially more M&M's when the candies are offered with a large as opposed to a small spoon (again with no limits as to the number of spoonfuls to be taken). We propose that unit bias explains why small portion sizes are effective in controlling consumption; in some cases, people served small portions would simply eat additional portions if it were not for unit bias. We argue that unit bias is a general feature in human choice and discuss possible origins of this bias, including consumption norms. Gibson, E. (2006) "Emotional Influences on Food Choice: Sensory, Physiological and Psychological Pathways", , 9 pages. doi: Physiology & Behavior 10.1016/j.physbeh.2006.01.024. http://www.sciencedirect.com/... Abstract▼ Sensory, physiological and psychological mechanisms are reviewed that underlie emotional influences on food choice. Both moods and emotions are considered. Eating a meal will reliably alter mood and emotional predisposition, typically reducing arousal and irritability, and increasing calmness and positive affect. However, this depends on the meal size and composition being close to the eater's habit, expectations and needs. Unusual meals – e.g. too small, unhealthy – may negatively affect mood. Sweetness, and sensory cues to high energy density, such as fatty texture, can improve mood and mitigate effects of stress via brain opioidergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission. However, adaptation in these pathways, perhaps enhanced by inherited sensitivity, with chronic exposure to such sensory qualities, could lead to overeating of energy-dense foods and consequent obesity. Sweet, fatty foods low in protein may also provide alleviation from stress in vulnerable people via enhanced function of the serotonergic system. Moreover, in rats, such foods seem to act as part of a feedback loop, via release of glucocorticoid hormones and insulin, to restrain activity of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis during stress. However, this effect is also associated with abdominal obesity. In humans, a number of psychological characteristics predict the tendency to choose such foods when stressed, such as restrained or emotional eating, neuroticism, depression and premenstrual dysphoria, all of which could indicate neurophysiological sensitivity to reinforcing effects of such foods. Greater understanding of such predictive traits and the underlying mechanisms could lead to tailoring of diet to meet personal emotional needs. Herman, C. P., Roth, D. A. & Polivy, J. (2003) "Effects of the Presence of Others on Food Intake: A Normative Interpretation", , 14 pages. doi: Psychological Bulletin 10.1037/0033-2909.129.6.873. Abstract▼ The authors review the effect of the presence of others on food intake. In social facilitation studies, people tend to eat more in groups than when alone. In modeling studies, the presence of others may facilitate or inhibit intake, depending on how much these other people eat. Studies of impression management demonstrate that people tend to eat less in the presence of others than when alone. The authors attempt to reconcile these divergent literatures by reference to a model of inhibitory norms that govern eating. In the presence of palatable food, and in the absence of clear signals of satiety, people look outward to cues from the environment to determine when to stop eating. Socially derived inhibitory norms can account for either increased or decreased intake in the presence of others, depending on how much the others eat and the extent to which one is eager to impress them. Hogenkamp, P. S., Nilsson, E., Nilsson, V. C., Chapman, C. D., Vogel, H., Lundberg, L. S., Zarei, S., Cedernaes, J., Rångtell, F. H., Broman, J., Dickson, S. L., Brunstrom, J. M., Benedict, C. & Schiöth, H. B. (2013) "Acute Sleep Deprivation Increases Portion Size and Affects Food Choice in Young Men", , 7 pages. doi: Psychoneuroendocrinology 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.01.012. http://www.sciencedirect.com/... Abstract▼ Acute sleep loss increases food intake in adults. However, little is known about the influence of acute sleep loss on portion size choice, and whether this depends on both hunger state and the type of food (snack or meal item) offered to an individual. The aim of the current study was to compare portion size choice after a night of sleep and a period of nocturnal wakefulness (a condition experienced by night-shift workers, e.g. physicians and nurses). Sixteen men (age: 23 ± 0.9 years, BMI: 23.6 ± 0.6 kg/m2) participated in a randomized within-subject design with two conditions, 8-h of sleep and total sleep deprivation (TSD). In the morning following sleep interventions, portion size, comprising meal and snack items, was measured using a computer-based task, in both fasted and sated state. In addition, hunger as well as plasma levels of ghrelin were measured. In the morning after TSD, subjects had increased plasma ghrelin levels (13%, p = 0.04), and chose larger portions (14%, p = 0.02), irrespective of the type of food, as compared to the sleep condition. Self-reported hunger was also enhanced (p < 0.01). Following breakfast, sleep-deprived subjects chose larger portions of snacks (16%, p = 0.02), whereas the selection of meal items did not differ between the sleep interventions (6%, p = 0.13). Our results suggest that overeating in the morning after sleep loss is driven by both homeostatic and hedonic factors. Further, they show that portion size choice after sleep loss depend on both an individual's hunger status, and the type of food offered. Irmak, C., Vallen, B. & Robinson, S. R. (2011) "The Impact of Product Name on Dieters’ and Nondieters’ Food Evaluations and Consumption", , 16 pages. doi: Journal of Consumer Research 10.1086/660044. Abstract▼ This research explores the impact of merely altering the name of a food on dieters’ and nondieters’ evaluations of the food’s healthfulness and taste, as well as consumption. Four studies demonstrate that when a food is identified by a relatively unhealthy name (e.g., pasta), dieters perceive the item to be less healthful and less tasty than do nondieters. When the identical food is assigned a relatively healthy name (e.g., salad), however, dieting tendency has no effect on product evaluations. This effect, which results in differences in actual food consumption, is explained by nondieters’ insensitivity to food cues as well as dieters’ reliance on cues indicating a lack of healthfulness and tendency to employ heuristic information processing when evaluating foods. These findings contribute to the body of literature that explores both individual and contextual factors that influence food evaluation and consumption. McFerran, B., Dahl, D. W., Fitzsimons, G. J. & Morales, A. C. (2010) "I’Ll Have What She's Having: Effects of Social Influence and Body Type on the Food Choices of Others", , 15 pages. doi: Journal of Consumer Research 10.1086/644611. Abstract▼ This research examines how the body type of consumers affects the food consumption of other consumers around them. We find that consumers anchor on the quantities others around them select but that these portions are adjusted according to the body type of the other consumer. We find that people choose a larger portion following another consumer who first selects a large quantity but that this portion is significantly smaller if the other is obese than if she is thin. We also find that the adjustment is more pronounced for consumers who are low in appearance self-esteem and that it is attenuated under cognitive load. Mehta, S., Melhorn, S. J., Smeraglio, A., Tyagi, V., Grabowski, T., Schwartz, M. W. & Schur, E. A. (2012) "Regional Brain Response to Visual Food Cues is a Marker of Satiety That Predicts Food Choice", , 11 pages. doi: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 10.3945/ajcn.112.042341. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/con... Abstract▼ Background: Neuronal processes that underlie the subjective experience of satiety after a meal are not well defined. Objective: We investigated how satiety alters the perception of and neural response to visual food cues. Design: Normal-weight participants (10 men, 13 women) underwent 2 fMRI scans while viewing images of high-calorie food that was previously rated as incompatible with weight loss and “fattening” and low-calorie, “nonfattening” food. After a fasting fMRI scan, participants ate a standardized breakfast and underwent reimaging at a randomly assigned time 15–300 min after breakfast to vary the degree of satiety. Measures of subjective appetite, food appeal, and ad libitum food intake (measured after the second fMRI scan) were correlated with activation by “fattening” (compared with “nonfattening”) food cues in a priori regions of interest. Results: Greater hunger correlated with higher appeal ratings of “fattening” (r = 0.46, P = 0.03) but not “nonfattening” (r = -0.20, P = 0.37) foods. Fasting amygdalar activation was negatively associated with fullness (left: r = -0.52; right: r = -0.58; both P ? 0.01), whereas postbreakfast fullness was positively correlated with activation in the dorsal striatum (right: r = 0.44; left: r = 0.45; both P < 0.05). After breakfast, participants with greater activation in 4 regions—medial orbital frontal cortex (r = 0.49, P < 0.05), left amygdala (r = 0.49, P < 0.05), left insula (r = 0.47, P < 0.05), and nucleus accumbens (right: r = 0.57, P < 0.01; left: r = 0.43, P < 0.05)—chose buffet foods with higher fat content. Conclusions: Postmeal satiety is shown in regional brain activation by images of high-calorie foods. Regions including the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and dorsal striatum may alter perception of, and reduce motivation to consume, energy-rich foods, ultimately driving food choice. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01631045. Oliver, G., Wardle, J. & Gibson, E. L. (2000) "Stress and Food Choice: A Laboratory Study", . Psychosomatic Medicine http://journals.lww.com/psych... Abstract▼ Objective: This study investigated experimentally whether acute stress alters food choice during a meal. The study was designed to test claims of selective effects of stress on appetite for specific sensory and nutritional categories of food and interactions with eating attitudes. Remick, A. K., Polivy, J. & Pliner, P. (2009) "Internal and External Moderators of the Effect of Variety on Food Intake", , 18 pages. doi: Psychological Bulletin 10.1037/a0015327. Abstract▼ Many factors contribute to how much we eat. One such factor is the variety of different foods available. The current article reviews the variety literature with a specific focus on the factors that moderate the effects of variety on food intake and that moderate the processes that may underlie the variety effect (i.e., sensory-specific satiety and monotony). The moderators have been categorized as being of either an internal nature or an external nature. The literature suggests that internal moderators, including characteristics such as gender, weight, and dietary restraint, do not act as moderators of the variety effect. One possible exception to the absence of internal moderators is old age. Alternatively, external moderators, such as particular properties of food and the eater’s perception of the situation, appear to affect the strength of the variety effect on intake to some degree. An evolutionary hypothesis may account for the distinct roles that internal and external variables play in moderating the variety effect.
Scott, M. L., Nowlis, S. M., Mandel, N. & Morales, A. C. (2008) "The Effects of Reduced Food Size and Package Size on the Consumption Behavior of Restrained and Unrestrained Eaters", , 15 pages. doi: Journal of Consumer Research 10.1086/591103. Abstract▼ This research examines the moderating role of attempted dietary restraint on the amount of food consumed from small food in small packages versus large food in large packages. Four experiments demonstrate that restrained eaters consume more calories from small food in small packages, while unrestrained eaters consume more calories from large food in a large package. For restrained eaters, overconsumption of the small food in small packages results from a lapse in self-control caused by the stress of perceiving conflicting food information: the small food in small packages is perceived as both diet food and high in calories.