On the Psychology of Eating
Beyond the Belly is a multidisciplinary lecture series provided by O’BRAIN Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki. It is open to students and the general public. The aim is to give a broad perspective on eating behavior away from pathological conditions.
- March 17, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Cultural and Social Resources in Food and Eating – Culinary Capital, Cultural Omnivorousness and Culinary Cosmopolitanism — Taru Lindblom, Professor in Food Culture, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
- March 24, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Social Media’s Impact on Eating Behavior — Maria Kardakova, Doctoral Student, University of Surrey, UK, Registered Nutritionist, Instagram Blogger
- March 31, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — The Role of Social Identity and Social Norms on Plant-forward Eating — Laura Salmivaara, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Forest Sciences, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability (HELSUS)
- April 14, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Going with your gut: The Role of Vagal Afferent Signals in the Control of Behavior — Nils Kroemer, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Psych. (Professor of Medical Psychology, University of Bonn & University of Tübingen)
- April 19, 2023 10:15 EET @Athena — Food & Marketing — Laura Forsman, Viikki FOOD DESIGN FACTORY Manager
- April 28, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — The role of food literacy in the modern food environment — Riikka Pajulahti, Doctoral Student, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki; Henna Vepsäläinen, Researcher, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki
- May, 5, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Towards evidence-based sustainable public health nutrition — Nordic Nutrition recommendations 2022 — Maijaliisa Erkkola, Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki
- May, 5, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Health enhancing food policies — Minna Huttunen, Ministerial Adviser at Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
How to Attend a Lecture?
For the lectures you would like to attend, please register using this form. Each lecture is held at one of the two possible sites (See the maps below). Location for each lecture is stated in the list above after the date:
Auditorium 229, all lectures at this site are at 14:15 EET
Hall 107, all lectures at this site are at 10:15 EET
Cultural and social resources in food and eating – culinary capital, cultural omnivorousness and culinary cosmopolitanism
March 17, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Taru Lindblom, Professor in Food Culture, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
What do food preferences and tastes regarding eating tell about our socioeconomic position? Is one’s taste really an idiosyncratic personal feature? How do socialization, peers, and other relevant lifestyle groups affect the ways we appreciate or appropriate certain ways of eating? What other resources than the monetary ones are relevant in the above-mentioned issues?
The lecture will give insights into food-cultural issues to eating i.e. look at the role of cultural and social resources in food and eating. The viewpoints presented during the lecture draw from disciplines of cultural sociology and sociology of consumption. The lecture will explore sociological concepts such as cultural and culinary capital, cultural omnivorousness, and culinary cosmopolitanism. Here, food is considered a cultural artifact, and rather than focusing on the nutritional value of foodstuffs it emphasizes the meanings placed to eating that are brought about in social relationships between people.
Social Media’s Impact on Eating Behavior
March 24, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Maria Kardakova, Doctoral Student, University of Surrey, UK, Registered Nutritionist, Instagram Blogger
It appears that unhealthy eating behaviours such as skipping meals, binge eating and emotional eating are associated with social media use. In addition, social media users are more likely to compare themselves to others, leading to feelings of inadequacy and body dissatisfaction. This could also lead to orthorexia nervosa and disordered eating behaviours such as restrictive dieting and binge eating.
We will discuss the potential risks associated with the use of social media and how it can lead to unhealthy eating habits and body image. We will talk about different tactics that social media has used throughout history to confuse people about their body image and lifestyle.
We will also talk about how social media can promote healthy eating habits and create a positive environment for healthy eating. We will discuss modern trends in wellbeing and the work that has been done in this area at a social and regulatory level.
The Role of Social Identity and Social Norms on Plant-forward Eating
March 31, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Laura Salmivaara, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Forest Sciences, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability (HELSUS)
Being aware of climate change and biodiversity loss should change our food habits in a more sustainable direction. Reducing the consumption of meat and increasing the consumption of plant-based foods would benefit the environment significantly but steering the change has proven to be challenging and eating meat has remained a prevailing norm in Western societies.
Food choices are complex processes that are influenced by many factors and sustainability increases the complexity. People define and express themselves with different food choices depending on the situation and peer group. Examining of social identity opens one aspect for considering of food choices and the difficulty of changing them. Consumers who identify with certain social groups and thus adopt different social identities are also more likely to act according to the group’s social norms and to consume foods with characteristics that match the group. According to the research, the effect of social identity is different for vegetarians, vegans, omnivores, or flexitarians. Moreover, particularly vegetarians and vegans face situations where social norms conflict. They may feel social pressure to behave in accordance with prevailing (meat eating) norms. On the other hand, they may feel the need to try to change or undermine them.
The lecture discusses the role of social identity and social norms in sustainable food choices, especially related to plant-forward eating. We also go through social norms as a way to change behaviour.
Going with your gut: The Role of Vagal Afferent Signals in the Control of Behavior
April 14, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Nils Kroemer, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Psych. (Professor of Medical Psychology, University of Bonn & University of Tübingen)
The vagus nerve plays a vital role in adjusting behavior according to metabolic demands by transmitting signals from peripheral organs to the brain. Although vagal afferent projections are assumed to play a limited role in goal-directed behavior, I will review emerging evidence on their relevance in allostasis—facilitating prospective changes in behavior that ensure long-term stability of homeostasis. First, in line with recent preclinical findings, I will show that non-invasive transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) boosts motivation and mood recovery after exertion. Second, I will highlight stimulation-induced changes in reinforcement learning, indicating a broader role of vagal afferents in value-based decision-making. Third, I will review how tVNS modulates the integration of bodily signals and discuss how multimodal studies on gut-brain interaction may help advance insights about adaptive behavior beyond deliberate top-down control. Fourth, I will outline several remaining challenges and open questions that still hamper translational advances. Taken together, the recent progress has paved the way for an improved understanding of the control of adaptive behavior by signals originating from the body, which may help resolve long-standing questions about the link between somatic symptoms and mental disorders.
Food & Marketing
April 19, 2023 10:15 EET @Athena — Laura Forsman, Viikki FOOD DESIGN FACTORY Manager
Food in our day and era is a market-driven business. What is the role of marketing — e.g. food design and advertising — in the way we consume food and satisfy our diverse needs with food? How has the commoditization of food led to a food system in crisis, including the negative externalities on human health? What kind of food “products” could we have in the future, that lead us to a place where food is sustainable, healthy and its business is socially just?
The role of food literacy in the modern food environment
April, 28, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Riikka Pajulahti, Doctoral Student, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki; Henna Vepsäläinen, Researcher, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki
The current food environment has become increasingly complex. Thus, multiple factors of the environment around us affect our food-related behaviors and eating habits. What is the role of food literacy, i.e., the skills, knowledge, and behaviors to access, understand and use food-related information, in protecting diet quality and sustainable food choices in the food system? And how food literacy develops throughout childhood and adolescence in different environmental settings?
Towards evidence-based sustainable public health nutrition — Nordic Nutrition recommendations 2022
May, 5, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Maijaliisa Erkkola, Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki
The new edition of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) will be published in June 2023. The NNR constitutes the scientific basis for national nutrient recommendations and food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) in Nordic and Baltic countries. In addition to include an update on NNR for energy, macro- and micronutrients, NNR2022 will develop evidence-based platforms for the national FBDG as well as the integration of overweight and obesity, and sustainability and environmental issues into FBDG. The scientific report will be the most authoritative framework for integration of sustainability into the national FBDGs in the Nordic and Baltic countries, and their national food and health policies and programs.
Health enhancing food policies
May, 5, 2023 14:15 EET @Aurora — Minna Huttunen, Ministerial Adviser at Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland
Food systems matter for food and nutrition security and for the livelihoods of those involved in these activities (economic sustainability), but also for environmental sustainability. These key objectives are interconnected, but policy making and policy analysis have historically tended to deal with them in isolation. Food systems ‑concept draws attention to the important synergies and trade-offs that might exist between these different areas, and to the need for increased co-ordination between policy making communities. What is the role of policies and what can be achieved with them? Better policies for food systems require robust, evidence-based, and inclusive policy processes. To develop effective policies, these processes must successfully overcome frictions related to facts, interests, and values. Food systems are highly dependent on the environment, but also exert pressures on it. The world is facing major challenges: 1) Globally, about 2 billion people do not have regular access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food; an even greater number are overweight or obese. 2) Technical and structural change and the repercussions of COVID-19 as well as changes brought by the Russian aggressive military action are putting pressure on the livelihoods of people working on 570 million farms worldwide and along other stages of the food supply chain. 3) The environmental damage from food production is considerable. Around 80% of all threatened terrestrial bird and mammal species are in danger because of habitat loss due to agricultural expansion; food production (including pre-production and post-production activities) accounts for 21–37% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Food systems approach makes progress simultaneously on all these three dimensions. Policy makers active in different areas (e.g. agriculture, fisheries, environment, public health) must take a more holistic view on the set of objectives as well as on the set of possible policy levers, and coordinate to avoid incoherent policies. Poor diet contribute to poor nutrition and poor health outcome, increased number of non-communicable disease (diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, many cancers), increased healthcare expenditure, shorter life-span, decreased labor productivity and lower income.
What kind of food policy tools are used and how well they work to improve health?