What affects food choice and intake

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There are many things that affect what choice we make when selecting the food that we eat. The obvious first one is hunger. Hunger is the way the body tells us to eat and it can be that the stomach is empty or we are low on sugars or nutrients. When we then think about eating, the saliva glands respond making our mouths water and the stomach produces hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, ready to prepare for the food that we eat.

What we choose will vary on our personal preferences and the appearance of the food. We look at food and decide if we want to eat it based on its colour, smell, texture, general appearance and presentation.

There are other pressures on what we choose and these can be things like:

Television advertising or adverts that give us an idea to try a food and these can be in a host of different formats;
The cost of food and personal finance. If you cannot afford certain foods you will not buy them;
The ease of getting the food, for example phoning for a take-a-way rather than cooking a meal. Where you live will affect what you are able to buy;
Transport that you have. If you have no car, you can only choose local shops or online orders.
What food we have at home in the cupboards and freezer;
Boredom, laziness and loneliness. Comfort eating and eating when you do not really need it can increase the food you eat in increase the junk food that you consume. Also if you are on your own you may not be bothered to cook as it is just for you;
What facilities we have to cook and prepare the food;
Pressure from peers;
Culture or religion. This can mean that you cannot eat certain foods;
Your age and sex. Different ages and sexes have different needs. The young are more affected by advertising and peer pressures and the elderly may not be able to afford or cook the right foods;
The time it takes to prepare the food;
Your health and special requirements;
Allergies and intolerances;
Your access to shops or the ease of online ordering
And finally your habits. People often are set in routines on what they eat and when. With education, these habits can be changed to improve the foods consumed.