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Culture and food
Wardle et al. (1997) surveyed the diets of 16,000 young adults across 21
European countries. In general the number eating a basic and healthy diet was
low, with females doing better than males. There was also differences between
· People in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Holland eat the most fibre, and those in
Portugal, Spain and Italy eat the least fibre.
· People in Italy, Portugal and Spain eat the most fruit, and those in England and
Scotland eat the least fruit.
· People in Poland and Portugal have the highest salt intake, and those in Sweden
and Finland have the lowest salt intake.…read more

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Culture and food
­ Mediterranean Diet
People in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea seem to
have lower levels of heart disease and obesity than in other
European countries. Key differences in the diet are:
· Use of olive oil as a source of fat. The fat in olive oil is unsaturated,
and it is thought to be healthier than the saturated animal fats
widely used, e.g. In the UK.
· Higher levels of fruit and vegetables.
· Moderate levels of cheese and other dairy products.
· Moderate levels of fish and poultry.
· Low levels of red meat.
· Low to moderate intake of wine.
In general lower levels of processed foods are consumed and
more natural products are used.…read more

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Culture and food
Leshem (2009) compared Bedouin Arab women living in desert encampments
with Bedouin women who had lived for at least one generation in an urban
setting. He compared both with a group of Jewish women also living in an urban
· The diet of urban Bedouins was hardly different from that of desert Bedouins,
with both groups differing significantly from the Jewish women.
· Bedouin groups had a much higher intake of energy, especially carbohydrates and
· The Bedouin groups also had significantly higher levels of salt intake.
In another study, Leshem compared the diets of ethnic communities living close
to each other in Israel with equal access to shops and food. In the Muslim
community intake of carbohydrates was twice that of the Christian group, and
they also took in higher levels of protein, fats and salt. Interestingly, the mean
body mass index was virtually identical.…read more

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Mood and food
­ Binge-eating
Research has shown that individuals with bulimia nervosa complain of anxiety prior to
a binge.
Self-monitoring studies (e.g. Davis et al., 1988) have shown that one hour before a
binge, bulimic individuals had more negative mood states than one hour before a
normal snack or meal. The same relationship between low mood and binge-eating
appears to hold for sub-clinical populations.
Wegner et al. (2002) had students record their eating
patterns and mood states over a two-week period.
Binge days were characterised by generally low mood
compared to non-binge days, but there was no
difference in mood before and after a binge. This
suggests that although low mood may make binge-
eating more likely, it does not alleviate the low mood
state.…read more

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Mood and food
­ Comfort-eating
Garg et al. (2007) observed the food choices of 38 participants as they watched
either an upbeat, funny movie or a sad, depressing one. Participants were offered
buttered popcorn and seedless grapes throughout the films.
Those watching the sad film consumed 36% more popcorn than those watching
the upbeat film, but the upbeat film group ate far more grapes than the other
Garg et al. claim that people who feel sad or depressed want to `jolt themselves
out of the dumps', therefore they are more likely to go for a snack that tastes good
to give them a sudden rush of euphoria. Happy people want to extend their
upbeat mood and so choose healthy foods.
However, when participants were presented with nutritional information about
the foods prior to viewing, consumption of the relatively unhealthy foods dropped
dramatically.…read more

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