We all have been told which types of food to eat and which to avoid. Although many factors influence nutrition, the diet is surely the most potent force in determining how we consume the food necessary for health and growth. But this article is not about the “whats” of nutrition. It’s about the “hows.” An often overlooked aspect of nutrition is the environment in which we consume. In our fast food and TV dinner society, these outside factors can be pushed aside for the sake of more convenient multitasking. Indeed, for many of us, food has become industrialized. Meals are not so much times for relaxation or shared activity as sterile fueling intervals.
We need to change this.
Time Shared Breeds Accountability
Just as with exercise, shared, social activities force people to better themselves. When left to our own nutritional devices, we don’t always make the healthiest decisions. According to findings from this story from MedicalDaily.com, “a…study from the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer found that the ‘lonely nature’ of solo dining negatively affects adults over the age of 40, resulting in them eating fewer vegetables per day than their coupled counterparts.”
But the dietary peer pressure-like effect can cut both ways. Outings with friends to restaurants with deceptively high-calorie offerings can mitigate the positive effects of eating together. When enjoying the company of friends and loved ones, it is perhaps even easier than normal to shirk your nutritional responsibilities. This is okay every once in awhile, but it’s always best to keep track of what you’re eating.
Friends Make You More Present
As this study from Harvard shows, those who eat with intention are healthier than absent minded eaters. Distracted eaters lose track of portions and eat too quickly, both nutritional no-nos. As the study underlines, “full” signals take 20 minutes to reach the brain. If you have lost track of your intake, you could be routinely eating well past your limit.
As it turns out, this science is convenient. Food is one of life’s great pleasures. It defines cultures; reminds you of home. Food is meant to be shared and savored with loved ones. What a happy coincidence, then, that shared food is also the best kind of food for you.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.