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Deeper Dive on Food Cravings


How the way you think may affect food choices

The reasoning behind WHY we choose to eat certain foods over others is complicated.  Studies show that advertisements and cravings play a large role in our decision-making, and that certain groups of people may be affected even more than others.  When it comes to rational, we can be categorized as either holistic thinkers, or those who consider the bigger picture or “setting” to initiate food choices, or analytic thinkers, who choose foods based on reasoning and critical thinking.

Research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology tested the idea that holistic thinkers were more susceptible to advertisements with cues (such as eating popped corn in a movie theatre or cotton candy at an amusement park) vs other types of thinkers.  Participants were shown advertisements for chocolate in the context of an occasion such as a train station, airport, movie theatre or just simply the product with a plain black background.  Salivary reaction was tested by placing cotton balls in the cheeks before viewing the ad.  They were removed and weighed afterwards, finding that holistic thinkers salivated more, indicating craving within the occasion setting.  Their salivary response was less with a neutral or black background.  Two follow up studies also supported these findings.  Researchers suggested that holistic thinkers avoid advertisements in light of this new information.

Wondering which category you fit into?  Do you crave popped corn when you go to the movies?  When you see an ad for chocolate around Valentine’s Day, does it make you want to pick some up?  If you answered yes, then at the simplest level you are a holistic thinker.  If these types of situational ads don’t affect your decisions, then you may be more of an analytical thinker.

One way to deal with impulsive cravings is to avoid them in the first place.  Have a plan in place so you don’t get too hungry throughout the day, which translates to eating consistent and satisfying meals!   Secondly, have a plan for when a craving strikes.  Is chocolate usually your thing?  Instead of having a full size chocolate bar in your desk drawer, stock up on snack packs of cocoa almonds or fun size treats.  Smaller portions will help satisfy the urge and limit opportunities to go overboard!

Speaking of influence and kid appeal…did you know that Dole has an ongoing partnership with Disney?  In an effort to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables Dole and Disney have come together to make healthy eating fun and inspire parents to make better food choices for their families!  For fun, character themed and movie inspired recipes, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter today!

Published October 1, 2018

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