Nutritional policies can be more effective if healthy food is associated with eating pleasure, says LIONEL H OPIE
ating not only gives nourishment; it should also give pleasure. Even memories of meals that gave food enjoyment can stimulate the appetite. Nutritional policies can be more effective if they associate healthy food with eating pleasure. Among the emotions generated by food, pleasure and disgust are common and they respectively lead to increase or reduction in food consumption.
Consciously enjoying food implies reaching both satisfaction and the sense of having eaten enough. Taste stimuli travel from taste buds in the tongue by afferent pathways of the vagal nerve to the gustatory centre in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, giving the sensation of taste, whether agreeable, or disagreeable. The resultant emotional responses then generate the feeling of eating pleasure or displeasure.
Talk To Yourself
Diet is a word often linked to weight loss; but the word comes from the Greek diaita, which really means a way of life. Thus, in its original sense, diet means the kinds of food that a person eats habitually. The word diet has a double meaning, being both short hand for the pattern of eating, yet also currently referring to specified weight-reducing food restrictions. Currently, there are two separate issues; which diet best reduces weight, versus which diet gives overall optimal health and longevity.
We know that the western diet with its high intake of fat, sugar, and calories, damages the arterial endothelium and promotes obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. A few health-promoting diets are:
- Prudent diet: It emphasises a pattern of high intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, fish, and poultry.
- Dash BP-reducing diet: It is similar in nature, but with the addiction of salt restriction; it’s ideal for people with hypertension or borderline hypertension.
- Healthy eating diet: It is also similar, but using a numerical index for the seven components, each of which is given a score ranging from 0 to 10, where 10 signifies ‘optimal dietary behaviour’.
- Mediterranean diet: It is not that different from the others but features added olive oil and moderate alcohol; this diet has several strong points in its favour.
- Palaeolithic diet: It is the oldest diet. The Palaeolithic diet has been the standard diet that evolved over time. Studies on the teeth of the palaeolithic man, as found in east Africa, showed that the dental bones and tenth had adapted to process large quantities of low-quality vegetation rather than hard objects. The diet is now recognised as a nutritional pattern based on the ancient diet of wild plants and animals that our ancestors consumed over 10,000 years ago.
The primitive Palaeolithic diet of prehistoric mankind remains a very healthy dietary option, even today. However, modern lifestyles promote diet-induced diseases such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
- Low carbohydrate plus high fat diet (LCHF): The LCHF diet is currently popular when rapid weight loss is the aim. Yet, what is good for the normal heart is totally different in post-myocardial infarction patients. Greater adherence to a low carbohydrate diet also high in animal sources of fat and protein was associated with higher cardiovascular morality. The likely mechanism is that low carbohydrate diets induce a rise in blood free fatty acids that are toxic to the ischaemic heart. Thus, persons with symptomatic coronary artery disease should avoid such diets. Living Longer, Living Better, Oxford University Press.
Consciously enjoying food implies reaching both satisfaction and the sense of having eaten enough. Taste stimuli travel from taste buds in the tongue by afferent pathways