Interactions Among Relevant Factors

A variety of examples have been presented of the nonadditive influence of factors affecting eating. For instance, hunger does not simply add to palatability as a determinant of eating, hungry people may eat more good-tasting food, as expected, but they may eat less bad-tasting food, depending on circumstances. Likewise, social influences may combine with, mask, or oppose hunger and satiety considerations in eating. An attempt has been made to reconcile the various influences on eating in a boundary model (41). The basic premise is that physiological influences will predominate when the person is particularly hungry or sated and that environmental and cognitive considerations will be most influential when the person is indifferent (neither hungry nor sated). This model has not been successful in predicting behavior, but its emphasis on the need to assess the influence of one factor (eg, social influence) in the context of other factors (eg, hunger-satiety) has proven fruitful experimentally. Research on the influence of one particular factor in isolation seems likely to misrepresent the importance of that influence; under certain conditions, its influence will be exaggerated, whereas under others it may be suppressed (42).

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

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