Sensory & Physiological Influences on Eating?
Sensory and physiological influence refers to the way in which you perceive food through your own sensory mechanisms. The senses are very important factors in the kinds of food you decide to eat. The senses which affect our perception of food are;
- Sight - The image and presentation of a food is one of the first things that you will see and will automatically tell you how appealing the food is.
- Touch - The consistency and texture of the food will also have an impact on your willingness to eat it.
- Smell - The smell of the food will be a prerequisite to the taste and will impact on whether you wish to try the food or not.
- Sound - Any associated noises may also impact on your perception of the food.
- Taste - The most important of all the senses. The overall taste of the food will determine your overall perception of the food and whether you would eat it again or not.
All of these factors help you to decide if you want to eat a certain type of food or not. It is important that your other senses are satisfied and tantalised before you actually try the dish to see what it tastes like as negatives smells and images may make the food unappealing.
Are companies aware of the importance of sensory perception?
Absolutely! Food companies are well aware of the importance of sensory and physiological influences amongst consumers. That is why food is packaged, advertised and prepared in certain ways, to ensure that it is as appealing to potential consumers as possible. Everything from the colour and style of packaging, to the way in which the food is presented is considered by food production companies. Companies will research certain foods to make sure that their products are as appealing as possible.
Which other physiological factors could affect my choice of foods?
Believe it or not, the time of year may actually affect the types of food you consume. For example, during Summer months you may be more inclined to eat lighter foods, such as salads and fresh fruit. You may even be inclined to eat less, as you spend more time outside enjoying the sunshine. In Winter, your choice of food may be completely different and you may be more likely to eat warm comfort food such as soups and stews. You may also find that you eat more as you spend more time indoors and do less activity. Seasons can have a massive impact on your individual eating habits as well as the amount of weight you lose or gain!
I’ve always been slightly overweight, as has everyone in my family. So how important are genes when it comes to my weight and health?
Genes do play an important part in your physical build and overall health, although they should not define how healthy you are. It's simple; if you eat healthily and do enough exercise in relation to the amount of calories you eat, then you will lose weight and get the physique you desire.
I exercise regularly and always feel hungrier on these days! Can I eat more?
It is normal to eat more when you are exercising and energy is also necessary when you are taking part in physical activity. However, it is also important to ensure that you are not eating to the point where the exercise is not helping to lose weight. Eating fresh, healthy foods is the best approach to ensure you have adequate energy levels for the gym. Not only that, but eating the right food alongside good levels of exercise will also lead a much healthier life in general, with the ability to fight illnesses and feel physically fit.
So can bad eating habits make me ill?
Yes! It is a well-known fact that eating too much of the wrong food can contribute to sickness and poor health. Processed foods and ready meals lack sufficient levels of nutrients and if consumed in high amounts, can actually affect the human body’s ability to fight illness by weakening the immune system. So, although these foods are not directly making you sick, they will weaken your body to the point where you find it difficult to fight off common illnesses such as a cold or flu.
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