Although research addresses the effects of a meal’s context on food preference, the psychological consequences of meal situations are largely unexplored. We compared the cognitive and emotional effects of a restaurant meal eaten in the company of others to a solitary meal consumed in a plain office using pre- and post-tests analysis and controlling for the kind and amount of food consumed. Three tasks were conducted, measuring: (1) semantic memory (2) cognitive control and error monitoring, and (3) processing of emotional facial expressions. Covert processes in these tasks were assessed with event-related brain potentials. A mood rating questionnaire indicated a relaxation effect of the restaurant as compared to the plain meal situation. The restaurant meal increased sensitivity to threatening facial expressions and diminished cognitive control and error monitoring. No effects were observed for semantic memory. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that a restaurant meal with a social component may be more relaxing than a meal eaten alone in a plain setting and may reduce cognitive control.
BACKGROUND: Misreporting food intake is common because most health screenings rely on self-reports. The more accurate methods (eg, weighing food) are costly, time consuming, and impractical. OBJECTIVES: We developed a new instrument for reporting food intake-an Internet-based interactive virtual food plate. The objective of this study was to validate this instrument’s ability to assess lunch intake. METHODS: Participants were asked to compose an ordinary lunch meal using both a virtual and a real lunch plate (with real food on a real plate). The participants ate their real lunch meals on-site. Before and after pictures of the composed lunch meals were taken. Both meals included identical food items. Participants were randomized to start with either instrument. The 2 instruments were compared using correlation and concordance measures (total energy intake, nutritional components, quantity of food, and participant characteristics). RESULTS: A total of 55 men (median age: 45 years, median body mass index [BMI]: 25.8 kg/m(2)) participated. We found an overall overestimation of reported median energy intake using the computer plate (3044 kJ, interquartile range [IQR] 1202 kJ) compared with the real lunch plate (2734 kJ, IQR 1051 kJ, P<.001). Spearman rank correlations and concordance correlations for energy intake and nutritional components ranged between 0.58 to 0.79 and 0.65 to 0.81, respectively. CONCLUSION: Although it slightly overestimated, our computer plate provides promising results in assessing lunch intake.
Packed lunch is the dominant lunch format in many countries including Denmark. School lunch is consumed unsupervised, and self-reported recalls are appropriate in the school setting. However, little is known about the accuracy of recalls in relation to packed lunch.
The behavioral outcome of food ingestion is a complex process that involves psychological and biological factors. Avocados are nutrient dense with properties that may favorably impact energy balance. This study sought to evaluate if incorporating approximately one half of a Hass avocado by addition or inclusion into a lunch meal will influence post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin response, and subsequent energy intake among overweight adults.
Background: The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act required the USDA to update the nutrition standards of the National School Lunch Program. New policies were implemented in the 2012-2013 school year. These changes were followed by anecdotal reports of increased food waste. Empirical research is needed to reliably measure student intake and plate waste before and after this policy change. Methods: Food consumption and waste was collected annually from a cohort of middle school students in 12 schools in an urban, low-income school district before (spring 2012) and after (spring 2013 and 2014) policy changes. Generalized linear regression was used to compare pre- versus postpolicy selection and consumption of entrées, fruits, vegetables, and milk. Results: Comparing 2012 to 2014, the percentage of students choosing fruit significantly increased from 54% to 66% and fruit consumption remained high at 74%. Student selection of fruit increased by 9% for each additional type of fruit offered with the meal. The proportion of students who chose a vegetable dropped from 68% to 52%, but students selecting vegetables ate nearly 20% more of them, effectively lowering vegetable waste. Entrée consumption increased significantly from 71% to 84%, thereby also decreasing waste. Conclusions: Students responded positively to the new lunches. They consumed more fruit, threw away less of the entrees and vegetables, and consumed the same amount of milk. Overall, the revised meal standards and policies appear to have significantly lowered plate waste in school cafeterias.
Eating patterns are increasingly varied. Typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals are difficult to distinguish because skipping meals and snacking have become more prevalent. Such eating styles can have various effects on cardiometabolic health markers, namely obesity, lipid profile, insulin resistance, and blood pressure. In this statement, we review the cardiometabolic health effects of specific eating patterns: skipping breakfast, intermittent fasting, meal frequency (number of daily eating occasions), and timing of eating occasions. Furthermore, we propose definitions for meals, snacks, and eating occasions for use in research. Finally, data suggest that irregular eating patterns appear less favorable for achieving a healthy cardiometabolic profile. Intentional eating with mindful attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions could lead to healthier lifestyle and cardiometabolic risk factor management.
Children consume much of their daily energy intake at school. School district policies, state laws, and national policies, such as revisions to the US Department of Agriculture’s school meals standards, may affect the types of foods and beverages offered in school lunches over time.
There are currently no national standards for school lunch period length and little is known about the association between the amount of time students have to eat and school food selection and consumption.
Background: Scientific evidence for the optimal number, timing, and size of meals is lacking.Objective: We investigated the relation between meal frequency and timing and changes in body mass index (BMI) in the Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2), a relatively healthy North American cohort.Methods: The analysis used data from 50,660 adult members aged ≥30 y of Seventh-day Adventist churches in the United States and Canada (mean ± SD follow-up: 7.42 ± 1.23 y). The number of meals per day, length of overnight fast, consumption of breakfast, and timing of the largest meal were exposure variables. The primary outcome was change in BMI per year. Linear regression analyses (stratified on baseline BMI) were adjusted for important demographic and lifestyle factors.Results: Subjects who ate 1 or 2 meals/d had a reduction in BMI per year (in kg · m(-2) · y(-1)) (-0.035; 95% CI: -0.065, -0.004 and -0.029; 95% CI: -0.041, -0.017, respectively) compared with those who ate 3 meals/d. On the other hand, eating >3 meals/d (snacking) was associated with a relative increase in BMI (P < 0.001). Correspondingly, the BMI of subjects who had a long overnight fast (≥18 h) decreased compared with those who had a medium overnight fast (12-17 h) (P < 0.001). Breakfast eaters (-0.029; 95% CI: -0.047, -0.012; P < 0.001) experienced a decreased BMI compared with breakfast skippers. Relative to subjects who ate their largest meal at dinner, those who consumed breakfast as the largest meal experienced a significant decrease in BMI (-0.038; 95% CI: -0.048, -0.028), and those who consumed a big lunch experienced a smaller but still significant decrease in BMI than did those who ate their largest meal at dinner. Conclusions: Our results suggest that in relatively healthy adults, eating less frequently, no snacking, consuming breakfast, and eating the largest meal in the morning may be effective methods for preventing long-term weight gain. Eating breakfast and lunch 5-6 h apart and making the overnight fast last 18-19 h may be a useful practical strategy.
Do people believe that sharing food might involve sharing more than just food? To investigate this, participants were asked to rate how jealous they (Study 1)–or their best friend (Study 2)–would be if their current romantic partner were contacted by an ex-romantic partner and subsequently engaged in an array of food- and drink-based activities. We consistently find–across both men and women–that meals elicit more jealousy than face-to-face interactions that do not involve eating, such as having coffee. These findings suggest that people generally presume that sharing a meal enhances cooperation. In the context of romantic pairs, we find that participants are attuned to relationship risks that extra-pair commensality can present. For romantic partners left out of a meal, we find a common view that lunch, for example, is not “just lunch.”