The experience of food - why do we eat?

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Toral Shah | 0 Comments

Apart from the obvious reasons – hunger, cravings, temptation, social enjoyment and even boredom - the bottom line is that our bodies need energy to function.

As humans we are instinctively attracted to energy-dense foods - believe it or not, we’re still evolving from our hunter-gatherer days!

Did you know? The brain uses up to 25% of the body’s energy!

 Food scientist Steve Witherly, has spent years studying what makes food addictive and tasty. He says that when you eat tasty food, there are two factors that make the experience pleasurable:

  1. the sensation of eating the food
  2. the macronutrient make-up of the food

The sensation and experience of food relies on three of our senses: sight, smell and taste. As we all know, the better a food looks, the more tempting it becomes.

 

 ‘Scrumptious!’

 

However, the smell, taste and sensation in your mouth are equally important, as your brain associates this experience with a particular food or drink. Your brain likes variety – the more that you experience a food, the less pleasure that you will get from eating it.

 

Unhealthy foods are often formulated with the right balance of fats, sugar and salt for our brains to become excited and want more. The balance of macronutrients i.e. carbohydrates, protein and fat, in these tasty foods is often what our bodies crave.

 

But don’t forget that healthy foods have the right balance of macronutrients to keep us healthy and allow us to work at our peak, unlike their unhealthy counterparts.

This all might sound complicated, but its really very simple and boils down to one concept: nutrient density

 

i.e. A food with high energy (high calories e.g. cheese) but low nutrients will have a low nutrient density ratio. 

 HIGH ENERGY + LOW NUTRIENTS = LOW NUTRIENT DENSITY RATIO

 

A food with low calories and a high amount of nutrients (e.g. a blueberry) has a high nutrient density score.

 

LOW ENERGY + HIGH NUTRIENTS = HIGH NUTRIENT DENSITY RATIO

 

Basically, high nutrient density foods are good, low nutrient density foods are bad.

Easy!

 

If I hadn’t already mentioned, I’m a real foodie and I just can’t bear to eat food that doesn’t taste good, even if it is super healthy. So we’ve developed a range of dishes that should excite your taste buds and brain, yet fulfil your body’s macronutrient requirements. We confuse your brain’s addiction for fat, sugar and salt with lots of fresh herbs, spices and umami tastes.

 

Go on, give us a go!

Posted in NUTRITION


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