A new study has thrown up interesting insights on why people tend to eat more-nutritious meals at home than away from home.
The study, which collected data from 160 women who reported their emotional states before and after meals, add to mounting evidence that psychological factors may help override humans’ wired-in preference for high-fat, sugary foods.
The findings suggest that people who are in a good mood at home tend to prepare healthier meals – and feel more emotionally rewarded after eating them. That cycle of positive reinforcement was more pronounced at home than elsewhere.
The report, by Prof. Ji Lu of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Catherine Huet, and Prof. Laurette Dube of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, concludes, “The home is a privileged environment that nurtures healthy eating and in which healthier food choices trigger and are triggered by more positive emotions.”
This pattern may help explain why people make better choices at home than when eating out, says Prof. Dube, senior author of the study and scientific director of the McGill World Platform for Health and Economic Convergence.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.