The need to eat is a need to learn what and how much to eat to satisfy our body’s nourishment needs. Learning to satisfy our hunger and nourishment needs are the foundation on which we build a better life. The success of our ancestors as hunters, gatherers, farmers and chefs allowed them to turn their attention to inventing wheels, tools, cars, computers, and other gadgets that, to this day, have improved the way we live life. Ironically, this foundation is being pulled out from underneath us as the need for good nourishment is increasingly left out of the way we learn to eat and the promise of a better life, like the Cheshire cat, fades before our eyes. All around us we see more people dissatisfied with life; anxiety, depression, and suicides on the rise; obesity, inactivity, and all the lifestyle diseases that are the major killers of our time, vying to become the longest epidemics in history.
More important than dieting is developing the awareness of hidden factors influencing how we are subconsciously conditioned to believe that eating for pleasure is more important than nourishing our body. Marketers strategically use words like “diet” and “all-natural”.[i] On television,[ii] social media feeds, and billboards throughout our environment, they bombard us with sensual images of calorically dense but nutritionally empty high-energy food advertisements all designed to stimulate a desire to eat even in the absence of hunger.[iii] Overriding our body’s physiological hunger and satiation mechanisms, marketing conditions us to consume excessive amounts of food without even thinking about it.[iv] The real danger food marketing poses for all of us is how it subtly diminishes the power of our will, erodes our self-control, and thus serves as a gateway to ways of living life that have detrimental effects on our psychological and physiological well-being. Awareness is essential to taking control of our eating, weight, physical and emotional well-being and repossessing the power of our will.
[i] Alia J. Crum, W.R. Corbin, K.D. Brownell and P. Salovey. Mind over milkshakes: mindsets, not just nutrients, determine ghrelin response. Health Psychology, 2011:30(4), pp. 424-429.
[ii] Jennifer L. Harris, J.A. Bargh and K.D. Brownell. Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behavior. Health Psychology, 2009:28(4), pp. 404-413.
[iii] Luca Passamonti, James B. Rowe, Christian Schwarzbauer, Michael P. Ewbank, Elisabeth Von Dem Hagen, and Andrew J. Calder. Personality predicts the brain’s response to viewing appetizing foods: the neural basis of a risk factor for overeating. Journal of Neuroscience 2009:29(1), pp. 43-51.
[iv] Charles Spencea, Katsunori Okajimab, Adrian David Cheokc, Olivia Petitc, and Charles Michel. Eating with our eyes: From visual hunger to digital satiation. Brain and Cognition, 2016:110, pp. 53-63.