NUTRITION 1 Essay Example

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Several variables affect food choices and practices of individuals in daily occurrences. These variables include tastes, culture, health, emotions and marketing of food products. They can also be categorized as environmental, psychological and physical influences. Therefore, when these factors are combined, they affect an individual’s food consumption choices. They determine why, how and what foods they are supposed to consume. Indeed these factors are many though the paper only discusses few of them. The physical factors that affect a person’s choice of food include body size, health status, pregnancy and hormonal secretions. Furthermore, the use of drugs and substance can also significantly affect the eating habits of a person. However, other factors like the inherent regulation of eating, apart from the need for energy and water, have not been examined properly. Studies have shown that there is a higher attraction to tasty foods though desires of different food flavors are learned. Also, the selection of foodstuffs is likely to get affected greatly by the overall health status of an individual. Therefore, food preferences are highly dependent on some factors which make people to either get attracted to a particular food or get scared of a certain food, and they include tastes, marketing, health status, culture, and emotions.

Practically, the most important and foremost factors which can make an individual to choose a particular food rather than the other is its taste (Brimblecombe et al., 2014). This means that tasty foods are more appealing and can attract the majority of people as compared to less tasty foods. However, taste is always relative since what is sweet fro someone is likely to be bitter for the other person. For example, caviar is considered by the seniors as very delicious and sumptuous whereas children d not like it. People always yearn for the kind of foods that they love and appeal to them as compared to the ones they do not like. Studies have shown that the first factor consumers consider when shopping for food stuff is the taste factor (Caruso, Klein & Kaye, 2014). Also, the reason why taste is relative is the differences in genetic makeup in individuals, and it determines various tastes like bitter, sweet and sour. Further studies have shown that nearly 25% and 50% of the U.S persons are supertasters and tasters respectively. Therefore, individuals who are referred to as non-tasters are likely to have a wide variety of food to choose from as compared to tasters.

Marketing and Advertising

Honestly, the TV advertisement like the one on a pizza or chicken can just make an individual to go out and buy such foods immediately. This is always the target for most marketers of such foods. Therefore, some food choices greatly depend on proper marketing and advertising which lures consumers to start looking for them (Freeland-Graves & Nitzke, 2013). Such advertisements are mainly planned in a way to convince consumers to choose some foods over the other. This form of influence can also be seen affecting children, for example, cartoon characters that promote luncheons and toys that come with fast-foods. In fact, some studies have proven that creation of awareness about food can influence dietary habit during adulthood. However, some scholars say that dietary habits and nutrition behaviors are not significantly connected to each other (Gardner et al., 2014). This might be so since knowledge concerning health cannot directly lead to actions of food choice especially when a person is not sure of how he/she should use such knowledge. Knowledge of nutrition typically comes from several sources which can sometimes contradict each other thus leading to mistrust. Therefore, it is very crucial to disseminate the correct and precise information through various sources to help individuals on choosing the right and healthy types of food.

The cultural and ethnic background of people significantly affects their food choices. For example, a Chinese-American is likely to choose a different type of food unlike the Mexican- American just because of cultural differences (Have et al., 2013). The majority of people are liable to lean towards the kind of food which conforms to their cultural beliefs like pork is forbidden in the Islamic culture. The social influences on food can substantially be seen as it affects people’s eating behaviors either directly, consciously or subconsciously through buying, peer’s behaviors or transfer of beliefs respectively. In fact, even at a personal level, these social factors still influence food choices since attitudes and habits can still get developed as the person interacts with others. However, it is not easy to establish the correct quantity of social influences on food choices because eating behaviors are limited to an individual and the type of food they eat.

Nevertheless, social suppose has been established to be having a significant beneficial influence on the healthy dietary change and food choices. The social support can come from the family members or co-workers, and it has been substantially linked to improvements in vegetables and fruits consumption (Jiang, King & Prinyawiwatkul, 2014). This would, in turn, improve personal eating habits considerably. Also, this social support can promote an individual’s health through making him/her feel to belong to a group of people thus assisting the person to be more self-efficacious and competent. Various families are recognized as being in the forefront when it comes to food decisions. In fact, studies have established that shaping of food choices is usually a family duty. This is so because friends and families are the sources of encouragement in sustaining and making dietary by discovering dietary approaches that are suitable for the family members. These dietary changes can influence the individual’s eating behaviors and habits.

Several quantities of food are consumed in both homes and outside home in places like schools, workplace, and restaurants. This means that even the venue where the food is being taken can sometimes affect the individual’s choice of the food especially regarding which kind of food the place offers. Also, the availability of healthy foods of both at home and away from home would significantly affect the choice and consumption such types of food (Kim et al., 2013). Nonetheless, the access to clean and healthy food choices are typically limited in some places like at schools or workplaces since they are sensitive to quantity rather than quality. This can sometimes affect people who need particular types of food like vegetables or fruits. The adults who are working are usually affected so much by the influences of the workplace on their diet choices.

The health concerns can sometimes affect the food choices of an individual particularly due to recommendations from a doctor. A person who aims at losing weight shall automatically avoid some types of fatty foods as compared to the one whose metabolism has allowed taking any food (Monteleone et al., 2017). Even if the taste can also affect this factor, but it typically comes second. Consequently, understanding the way people usually make food choices with regards to health can help in planning for health awareness approaches. At this stage, the social psychologies theory models can significantly help individuals to undertake this approach. These social psychology theory models can assist in explaining health decisions and human behaviors regarding diets. The models have also been applied in predicting the possibility dietary behavior change in individuals. Protection Motivation Theory and Health Belief Model can be used to determine the health factor on food choices. These theories have substantially been used by different scholars to predict protective health behaviors in individuals (Robinson et al., 2014). These health protective approaches include screening, medical compliance, and vaccination uptake. The Health Belief Model argues that people who consider a change in their behavior typically feels threatened by some disorders thus engage in a cost-benefit analysis. It further states that people need some types of health protective measures to change their change behavior thus making a proper health decision.

Research has it that some people have emotional influences on their food choices. These people take such food as a soothing approach during times of difficulty, sadness, and distress. Therefore, personal emotions also influence an individual’s food choices considerably (Sinclair, Cooper & Mansfield, 2014). In fact, distressing conditions like anxiety, depression, and stress are like to affect a person in making a decision on which food to take and not to take. Mostly, such emotional influences lead to impulse eating where a person cares less about the quality of food leading to unhealthy eating. This influence of emotions on food choices is directly related to attitudes of individuals towards a particular type of food (Sinclair, Cooper & Mansfield, 2014). A person usually becomes very emotional during the attempt to enjoy a special kind of food but on the other hand, he/she struggles with weight loss, this can make the person choose specific types of food emotionally. Some people have been reported to be eating certain kinds of food that they do not love because of emotions. However, attempting to restrict oneself to intake of a particular food due to emotions can lead to food cravings.


Indeed as have been seen in the texts above, there are several factors which influence food choices in individuals and this provide several sets of means in improving a person’s selection of foods. Nonetheless, it is also good to note that these factors come with some barriers to lifestyle and dietary changes. The factors vary considerably with regards to individuals, groups and life stages. Therefore, due to these variations of these factors, it has been very hard even for the health professionals and people to apply the dietary changes appropriately. Consequently, various approaches are needed to make these dietary changes with regards to individual’s or group’s behaviors in taking food priorities. Therefore, people are advised to participate in practical solutions and environmental changes to succeed in facilitating the dietary changes mentioned above.


Brimblecombe, J., Maypilama, E., Colles, S., Scarlett, M., Dhurrkay, J. G., Ritchie, J., & O’Dea, K. (2014). Factors influencing food choice in an Australian Aboriginal community. Qualitative health research, 1049732314521901.

Caruso, M. L., Klein, E. G., & Kaye, G. (2014). Campus-based snack food vending consumption. Journal of nutrition education and behavior, 46(5), 401-405.

Freeland-Graves, J. H., & Nitzke, S. (2013). Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics: total diet approach to healthy eating. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113(2), 307-317.

Gardner, M., Wansink, B., Kim, J., & Park, S. B. (2014). Better moods for better eating; How mood influences food choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24(3), 320-335.

Have, M. T., Van Der Heide, A., Mackenbach, J. P., & De Beaufort, I. D. (2013). An ethical framework for the prevention of overweight and obesity: a tool for thinking through a programme’s ethical aspects. European journal of public health, 23(2), 299-305.

Jiang, Y., King, J. M., & Prinyawiwatkul, W. (2014). A review of measurement and relationships between food, eating behavior and emotion. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 36(1), 15-28.

Kim, E., Ham, S., Yang, I. S., & Choi, J. G. (2013). The roles of attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control in the formation of consumers’ behavioral intentions to read menu labels in the restaurant industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 35, 203-213.

Monteleone, E., Spinelli, S., Dinnella, C., Endrizzi, I., Laureati, M., Pagliarini, E., … & Bailetti, L. I. (2017). Exploring influences on food choice in a large population sample: The Italian Taste project. Food Quality and Preference, 59, 123-140.

Robinson, E., Thomas, J., Aveyard, P., & Higgs, S. (2014). What everyone else is eating: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of informational eating norms on eating behavior. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(3), 414-429.

Sinclair, S. E., Cooper, M., & Mansfield, E. D. (2014). The influence of menu labeling on calories selected or consumed: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics114(9), 1375-1388.