Opinion

How mindful eating can boost positive dietary choices

Buttriss: ‘At the heart of the concept is a changed relationship with food’

The concept of mindful eating as a means of driving healthy dietary choices is attracting attention.

One example is avoiding excess calorie consumption by increasing awareness of ‘real’ versus ‘perceived’ hunger.

But mindful eating is not just about what and how much is eaten, but also when and how.

At the heart of the concept is a changed relationship with food, centred on paying more attention to whatever is happening at the present moment.

Techniques that improve awareness

Coupled with this are techniques that improve awareness of the impact of external cues and result in better self-regulation.

Product placement, branding, marketing and advertising are recognised as influential external cues and, in Nutrition Bulletin, Dr Clare Leonard proposes that expertise in marketing and communications can be powerful tools to nudge positive dietary choices.

21 drivers of influence

Nudges change the environment to make healthier choices easier, and 21 drivers of influence have been identified by behavioural scientists – such as promoting development of new habits through new triggers and appropriate rewards.

Nudging is already a feature of the Change4Life campaign and Leonard’s editorial discusses combining mindfulness and nudging to support health improvement.

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