Shanu Shashank

 | 1 minute to read

How do your senses guide your eating habits?

One of the most common problems that come up when we are into a quantified nutrition, keeping a track of each and every food items, calorie by calorie, is the redundancy of having the similar kind of food/ cuisine throughout. While there could be a large variety of food items when it comes to carbohydrates, the sources for lean protein are quite limited comparatively. Over the span of time, our bodies start developing something called - Sensory Specific Satiety.

So, what is this Sensory specific Satiety? It is a phenomenon which refers to the declining satisfaction developed by the consumption of a certain type of food item over time and and hence the rise in consequent demand for other food with dissimilar taste. Ever imagined why do you hog onto food items when you are being invited to a buffet? The availability of different varieties of food items incurs a demand for an increase in appetite. From appetizers to main course, even after being so full, you still have that room for dessert! (since you might not be physically full and want to have some other food item out of interest). Most of us start enthusiastically with a diet regime and keep it going for a period of time, until when this weird phenomenon comes into the picture and we start having those withdrawal symptoms. Result - Giving up on the diet! (of course there could be several other reasons as well). On one hand, it’s an important factor that should be given attention to while following any diet regime, on the other hand it can actually backfire by leading to overeating, hence the importance of mindfulness when you are out with your friends and family or may be on a vacation. * Bringing in varied sample of food items can help us get in more versatility to our nutrient intake. It can also help in bringing better adherence with a varied choices of food and thus providing some sense of flexibility in the diet. * Adding a variety of food items can definitely help deal with the symptoms of SSS, however it also comes with a warning - “ you need to be watchful of the quantity, be mindful and not spoil your efforts made so far.”The fact that most of us are so emotionally linked and associated with food it can get really difficult to control the cravings, at times for some. * So, if you are thinking to add some huge varieties of food in the plan after reading the above pointers, please wait my friend because there are huge chances that you might be extra susceptible to overeating several times as your appetite increases. As per one of the studies conducted, the participants were provided with 4 course meals, with one set of participants being served with same food in each of the courses, while other a variety of food in each of the courses. It was found that the group which was provided the variety were able to eat more amount of food. Ex - If there were two variety of ice creams, one with the same flavor through out, while other having a combination of different flavors, the chances of having the latter would always be higher. Yeah, the sensory specific satiety coming into picture. But, how to cater to this, so that one becomes more aware of the eating pattern? * It’s pretty clear from the above points, adding alternative options of food can definitely help. Eg: If you are an individual who eats chicken regularly, adding a variety of fish, or any other meat option can help. Similarly, a vegetarian can switch between paneer, soya (chunks, flour, granules) or tofu. Of course you need to pick up a few items as your staple and play around that. When it comes to carbohydrates, the options are really wide open, eg- rice, millet, oats, wheat, etc can replace each other. One can incorporate many items here. * Bringing in some creativity in recipes. Personally, I would prefer keeping my meals as simple as possible.However, not everyone is the same. So, we need to figure out what works best for us. If bringing in different recipe choices and ingredients helps increase the adherence towards the diet in the long run, one could definitely opt for it with some flexibility in the plan. * Having a diverse food plate- By now, almost all of us know that it’s not the timing or meal frequency that matters as long as we are completing the target. calories (unless you are into any sport or competition and want to enhance your performance and recovery), so whether you have all your protein in one go or break it into multiple chunks, things are gonna be the same. However, talking about a more sustainable approach and keeping the symptoms of SSS in mind, it would be good to divide the plate in each of the courses with different variety of food items - fats, protein, carbs. Splitting up the total protein into each of the courses of meal, adding some source of carbs and fats all together can help. This can also help in keeping the food tolerance maintained. * Being aware of the calories and macro distribution - When you are getting into the place where you want to get in some flexibility going, it’s highly important that you should be aware of the nutritional side and macro division of that food or at least have a validated reference point, so that you don’t mess up. Try making a habit to read the nutritional labels of the food items that you buy. Note: To read more of similar articles on behavioral aspect, check below link, you can type in search option: "The curious case of exercise cycle and patience" "Understanding and developing a food relationship" "Tips to stop weekend weight gain" "Acquiring a Habit with a Flow" PS: You can post your doubts in the comment section along with any specific topic that you would want to read and understand more on. 🙂🙂

Ritu Malik

Good one!

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