Why do we eat? Pleasure and Quality

This question might seem strange, but it is the basis of every choice we make at the table and pushes us to understand what are the “motives” that guide our behavior. Let’s see together in this article!

We eat for two basic reasons:

  1. Satisfy the primordial need linked to the stimulus of hunger
  2. Because we like it!

The food choices we make are related to:

  • To the environment in which we live (physical and situational)
  • At the level of sociality we lead (family traditions, moments of conviviality at work or with friends …)
  • To the individuality of each of us (sports activity, state of health, religion, principles and values ​​that are important to us, personality …)

The food we eat identifies us , it tells about us, our history, our relationship with ourselves and with others, but the choices we make also depend on the pleasure that some foods give us!

The pleasure of eating

Resisting appetizing foods such as pizza, cream, chocolate, sweets in general can be difficult because they are foods that give us pleasure  even before they feed us!

They are foods that contain sugars, fats and salt that activate neurotransmitters in the brain that provide an immediate state of well-being linked to their consumption.

Pleasure is the first drive towards nourishment together with hunger!

Why do we like a food, or do we perceive it as good?

One of the explanations with the widest consensus given the scientific data is that there is a correlation between pleasure and the ingestion of a food for the production of dopamine, the molecule of reward and gratification at the level of the mesolimbic system!

If we eat a food that causes a significant increase in dopamine, the experience is perceived as pleasant and remembered as pleasant we will tend to seek it.

A second system of perception of pleasure capable of influencing mood, appetite and attraction to food is that of the endocannabinoid system.

Foods rich in omega 6 fatty acids found in baked goods such as biscuits, snacks, sweets, crackers activate this system.

Winning combinations

  • Fatty and salty
  • Sweet and spicy
  • Salty and spicy
  • Sweet and fat
  • Crunchy food with a soft filling

They are winning, gratifying combinations, they are the objective of the BLISS POINT : the “point of bliss” sought after by the food industry to create the right mix of sugars , fat and salt .

»Our preferences have evolved on the path of survival, today instead they are driven by the search for food for pure pleasure» (David Linden: “The Pleasure Compass”)

Choices of quality but also of pleasure

Eating (and maintaining proper hydration) is for us a necessity linked to the maintenance of our body and state of health.

Eating well means not only eating quality food, but also gratifying food, which makes us “feel good” !

Diets that eliminate entire food categories, flatten flavors, limit choices, may not be prosecutable for long.

You can choose combinations of foods that are high quality but also activate gratification circuits ; food styles that can be followed over time, for a long time because they are consistent with us, with our idea of ​​good food that makes us feel good in every sense and that allows us to reach our goals, whatever they may be (losing weight, buy it, control it, maintain it, perform at a sporting level …)!