Discuss Factors That Influence Attitudes to Food and Eating Behaviours

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Discuss factors that influence attitudes to food and eating behaviours [24] Mood is a factor that influences our attitudes towards food and eating behaviours. Whether we admit it or not, we all like to comfort eat when we are unhappy or binge eat when we are bored. This shows that our mood has an effect on how much we eat, and what foods we consume. Hunger creates irritable behaviour, however once we have eaten a meal, we feel more pleasurable feelings. Two mechanisms are the cause for these emotions; these are the serotonin and opiate hypotheses. The serotonin hypothesis states that chocolate, which is a carbohydrate, contains the amino acid Tryptophan, which is used in the brain. It is important that there is a balance of serotonin levels. Having low levels is shown to be a cause of depression. Research has shown that people who are suffering from depression tend to eat more foods that are carbohydrates as it increases their serotonin level, however consuming foods that are purely carbohydrate is difficult as there is almost always a trace of another food component, for example, protein. BENTON 2002 says that the serotonin hypothesis isn’t valid when explaining anti-depressant effects of high carbohydrate diets, due to breakdown of Tryptophan from small traces of food components within carbohydrate foods as this stops it from entering the brain. This would mean that serotonin levels wouldn’t alter, therefore depression isn’t cured. However people continue to consume carbohydrates as GIBSON 2006 said they believe it will alter their serotonin levels. Opiate hypothesis involves the neurotransmitters, for example beta-endorphin, being released from neurones to act as synapses at the opiate receptors. These then release pleasurable feelings, which we experience after we have eaten a meal, and euphoria, which is intense excitement. These opiate pathways control our

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