Alimentación Neurociencia Health Social

Factors that encourage eating.

factores comer

Why I am hungry ? The hunger is one of the main basic motivations of our species of face to supply sufficient energy to survive to the organism. Therefore, a definition of hunger could be: biological impulse that promotes behaviours headed to restore the balance homeostático internal contributing the necessary nutrients, that once stored will turn into energy, necessary for our development like species.

All the animals need of foods for subsistir, perhaps by this reason the evolution has planted always the mouth near of our brain in practically all the animals in what it seems a good strategy to give a fast answer to the requests of the regions of the brain that control the alimentary behaviours, mainly the hypothalamus ventromedial and the lateral hypothalamus.

However, this merely adaptative function of our primitive brain more animal has seen  modified, mainly in the the western world, by the big alimentary availability that possess nowadays. The act to eat no longer only is need but also it sees  widely influenciado by the cultural incorporation of pleasant flavours (sugar, salt, etc…), his ease of access and diverse social and environmental factors. Increasingly, the food goes in us by the eyes. Why we eat sometimes without need? The environmental factors have part of fault.

>> Article related: Gild the pill: fármarcos that go in us by the eyes.

Environmental factors of the alimentary behaviour.

A recent  study has showed the big visual impact of the food on our alimentary behaviour (Spence et al., 2016). They found big cerebral activity with the mere exhibition of pleasant images of food that unchained physiological and psychological answers, especially in what they call hungry brain. In fact, it is frequent that use dishes bigger incite us to fill us more, to not to leave it empty as if we ate less for having a half dish vacio although it was bigger. It is an example more than that the food also goes in by the eyes.

As we already advance, the humans are able to make behaviours related with eating without that it exist a real deficit of our levels of energy. It is here where go in at stake another type of environmental factors, characteristics of the foods (pleasant), social or personal factors (state of spirit, health, price, appeal, the novelty, etc.) that motivate us to eat (Martins and Pliner, 1998).

Social factors and eat.

The presence of determinate external stimuli can cause the behaviour to eat.

  1. The expectation of food: learning by condicionamiento classical.

We say that in a lot of occasions are hungry by the mere fact of the expectation that produces us the food in himself. That is to say, the mere fact to see the table put home arouses us win them to eat or when going past of a restaurant activates us  the chip to eat. It is not an internal stimulus the one who orders “us” eat but in this occasion are extraneous stimuli to the organism.

  1. Presence of other people.

Eat is a behaviour socializado. We eat more when we are in presence of other people that also is eating that when we are alone (Redd and Of Castro, 1992). Besides, it has checked  that the unsuitable consumption of food (scarce or excessive) produces  more usually when it forms  part of groups reduced of people. It is as if we lost the shame for eating, especially if somebody of this group is good canteen.

  1. Schedule and speed of the foods.

They exist cultural norms on the schedules of foods influenced by the schedule of works or the familiar or social obligations. We tend to make three more abundant foods to the day. This in favourable occasions that eat  with greater speed because of fault of time. However, eat fast does not stimulate the sufficient to our brain that does not arrive to receive the signals of complete satiety, by what tend to picotear more and before when previously we have eaten with hastes, according to a study  published in the magazine Nature by Of Graaf and Kok (2010). Therefore, chew well and eat without hastes, use covered properly or converse while we eat help to relantizar the process of consumption.

Related with this, has checked  that eat while we make another task that focalice our attention (see the television, read, etc.) inhibits the feeling of satiety to the not to be him loaning attention to the food, by what eat more without darse us.

  1. Stress and dream. 

The stress of ours bustled lives also favours a greater consumption since the little time that have does that the expectation of the food do it more apetecible and to his time less saciantes.

>> Article related: Strategies of afrontamiento in front of the stress.

The fault of dream or sleep badly also generates stress and increases the hormones that cause hunger and appetite (sure that you have raised you some time to hammer something of night if you do not give asleep) and to his time reduces the levels of hormones that cause satiety by what if we sleep badly, in general, also eat more. By what recommend you read this article with councils on the hygiene of the dream

Characteristics of the foods. 

Our metabolism needs ingerir diverse types of nutrients to work by what ours omnivorous diet forces us to select different types of foods. In this selection of the foods influence, between others, these variables:

Variety of the foods.

When we find us in front of big variety of food produces  an increase of the behaviour of consumption, is what us sucede when we are in a buffet free of a hotel. It is more likely that take more quantity of food by the mere fact to have more options that if only we have a bowl of milk with cereals. Besides, the different forms, colours and flavours incite us to eat. It is by this reason that the bollería industrial, although it carries practically the same type of nutrients, have different forms and ornamentations. If we always eat the same type of food bore us of him, is the called phenomenon of the specific sensory satiety, necessary to boost the research of necessary varied diets for our organism.


The palatabilidad is the value hedónico of a food, that comes determined by the variety, texture, temperature, aroma and flavour. The pleasure is one of the factors of greater motivation in the human beings. It is by this that even arrives  to deprive to eat (jumping foods) only by the mere fact to intensify the pleasure that supposes to relieve the deprivation of food that supposes the be without eating. When we carry time without eating, seems that we devour the dishes and eat much more.

Aversion to the flavour and to the smell. 

The aversions learnt in base to the taste and to the smell determine also the election of foods. A bad smell or a bad appearance is associated with unrest. In occasions, this association can give by chance when having experienced a determinate emotion related with a smell or punctual appearance.

Cognitive factors.

Besides, of the external environment the cognitive processes also are important determinants of our answers to the signals of the foods. According to a recent scientific review, can resist  the impulse to eat a tempting food if a person has scheduled an aim on a long-term basis of loss of weight (Higgs, 2016). That is to say, it seems that if we are processing information in our memory of work and episódica about the foods sees  affected our capacity atencional on the same, modulating the answer. For example, if we see a bar of attractive chocolate but is our processing of said information the one who does it more apetecible or less in function of our memories, thoughts and aims. When this cognitive processing interrupts  or sees  affected by some type of cognitive distortion is when they can produce  behaviours of excessive consumption and alimentary worries.

We are what think: we eat what think.

>> Article related: The 17 cognitive distortions more frequent.



  • Of Graaf, C. And Kok, F.J. (2010). Slow food, fast food and the control of food intake. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 6, 290-293.
  • Higgs, S. (2016). Cognitive processing of food rewards, Appetite, 104, 10-17
  • Martins, And and Pliner, P. (1998). The developmentof the food motivation scal. Appetite, 30, 94.
  • Redd, M. And Of Castro, J.M. (1992). Social facilitation you eating: effects of social instruction on food intake. Physiology & Behavioir, 52, 749-754.
  • Spence, C., Okajima, K., Cheok, To.D., Petit, Or., Michel, C. (2016). Eating with our eyes: From Visual hunger to digital satiation, Brain and Cognition, 110, 53-63


Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más.

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