Nutritional psychology is a subject I stumbled upon on social media – of all places – and that sent me into a massive online rabbit hole to better understand what it’s all about. Keeping in mind that even with all my best googling, I’m still eons from becoming an expert, I still thought this topic was fascinating enough that I wanted to share it. If you haven’t heard of it, you’ll be glad you did…and you’ll likely head down your own rabbit hole to learn more, too. I hope you do!
If you do, I hope you’ll share the interesting things you learned with me on Facebook! I love it when people comment on my posts!
What Is Nutritional Psychology?
Nutritional psychology is a study of how people’s choices, such as their decisions for meals and snacks, impact their nutrition as well as their psychological wellness and health as a whole. The idea is that as you start making better food choices, you can build the ability to control more compulsive eating behaviors, and this can help you to overcome weight problems. At the same time, the great nutrients you’re eating will feed your mind, bringing on improved alertness and energy levels as well as feelings of overall calm.
All the quality sources I read called it nutritional psychology, except Harvard Medical, which called it nutritional psychiatry. As far as I could tell, though, both terms referred to the same concepts.
What We Eat Affects How We Are Feeling
When all is said and done, food should make us feel good. It should taste enjoyable and the nutrients it contains should feed our bodies, providing the nourishment for all our various functions from our cells to our complex systems of organs. That said, the food choices we make can impact our quality of life in both a positive and a negative way.
Eating too much food or too little food can be harmful to our physical and mental health, resulting in a change in how we feel and, therefore, our quality of life. This can lead to a bad relationship with our food and negative feelings associated with it.
Using nutritional psychology to take a better look at our unhealthy eating habits and where they come from can let us make positive changes that can result in:
- An improved relationship with our food
- Better overall health
- More energy and better alertness
- Easier movement
- A better body image in general
What Affects Our Eating According to Nutritional Psychology?
There are a lot of factors that influence our feelings about food and our eating behaviors. I tapped into this a little bit when I talked about my sugar cravings fading away shortly after starting my keto diet. Some of the other things experts think are factors that influence our eating behaviors and the way we feel about our food include our:
- Social interactions
- Economic status
- Psychological state
- Individual preferences and habits
When reading that list, it’s easy to see how nutritional psychology would play a very big role in our efforts to lose weight! Treatments exist that can help to straighten out the relationship we have with our food and the eating behaviors we have. I’m not at the point that I’d be ready for professional help in that way…but I admit that I’m very interested!