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Cognition and Eating Behaviour

In this video, Nanette Stroebele-Benschop discusses how cognitions, thoughts and attitudes can affect our eating behaviours.
Hello and welcome back – todays lecture goes into more details on the relationship between and eating behavior and cognition. Today, I want to describe how what we think and believe drives our food choices. And I also want to highlight where those thoughts and attitudes might be coming from.
Let’s start with an example: If you grow up in Germany, for instance, you are exposed to a certain type of bread and certain bakery products. You see your parents eat cheese or cold cuts or marmalade on bread. You will probably have eaten your share of brezels. Brezels are a type of baked bread product made from dough shaped into a twisted knot. It is treated with washing soda and most commonly sprinkled with salt. So, these experiences impact your food choices and will follow you for the rest of your life. Even if you would move away to another country, you will never forget those foods. They might even elicit a certain emotional response as described in a previous lecture.
Your parental and cultural upbringing will shape your thinking in what is an appropriate or suitable meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your food choices will be influenced by what your parents your sibling, your family and later on by what your peers ate and when they ate it. Soft bread with peanut butter and jelly is something that most kids in the United States enjoy during their childhood, while a paste called vegemite on bread is popular among Australian kids. But both food choices are rather uncommon in Italy, Spain, France or Germany for instance. All these traditions and habits form your opinions and your food choices over years.
And if you stay in that familiar environment you are most likely to keep those traditions and even hand them over to your children. And new habits will come along as you travel, live abroad or learn from other cultures and friends. Research on people migrating to another country where traditions and the food culture differ very much from the home country has shown that the longer people live in the country they migrated to, the more they adapt to the eating habits and choices of the new country. Let’s take those experiences one step further.
Imagine that your parents always baked their own bread imagine them telling you that industrial produced bread is not as good for your health because of added sugar or other flavor enhancing ingredients and it also doesn’t taste as good. That opinion of your parents and your daily exposure to self-baked bread will influence your attitude. And eating something from a bakery chain where the dough is produced in a huge factory on the other side of the planet maybe will likely be perceived as less tasty. Your knowledge will likely influence your taste perception and therefore your intake. So we have past experiences, knowledge and attitudes that shape our eating behavior and our food choices. Let me give you one more example.
Your attitudes towards the planet and the environment or animal welfare influences your food choice and eating behavior. Your opinion about genetically modified products or additives, for instance, also influences your food choice and your eating behavior. These attitudes can both positively and negatively influence your dietary choices. if you believe that fruits and vegetables are healthy and can prevent diseases then you are more likely to consume them on the other hand, if you believe that only certain types of food and certain amounts will make you stay healthy, you might possibly restrain and control you food intake in a way that turns obsessive and becomes possibly dangerous for your health and this type of cognitive control and how cognition plays an important role in the development of eating-related disorders and therapeutic approaches will be presented during additional lectures

In this video, Prof. Nanette Stroebele-Benschop explores how cognitions, thoughts and attitudes can affect our eating behaviours.

Prof. Nanette Stroebele-Benschop uses the example of pretzels in Germany to indicate that your parental, and cultural upbringing, will shape your thinking in what is an appropriate or suitable meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Your views

  • Do you relate to the example shared by Prof. Nanette Stroebele-Benschop?
  • What new food habits came along with your travel experiences?
  • What other factors influence your eating behaviour?
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