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People enjoy eating delicious food because they want to get essential nutrition from them Who can resist a quick burger and fries when time is of the essence But do you know what youre eating For example do you know how many calories are in a Taco Bell Gordita Have you ever considered how much sodium youre consuming with an Arbys Bacn Cheddar Deluxe The numbers just might surprise you -- some for the better but others for the worse 1 Influences on Food Choices Food choices are influenced by many factors age gender friends family cultural background and where we live Although the main purpose of food is to nourish the body food means far more than that to many people It can represent much of who and what we are People bond and foster relationships around the dinner table and at celebrations with special meals and foods such as birthday cake Some people express their creative side by serving dinner guests as well as expressing their awareness and appreciation for others Some people also use food to help them cope with stress by overeating or depriving themselves Food may also be used as a reward for accomplishing a specific goal Consequently what people eat can reveal much about who they are socially politically and religiously Factors influencing food preferences includes taste texture and appearance Economics - The cost of food affects what we eat Our early experiences with food - Food preferences begin early in life and change as we are exposed to new people and places As children our choices were in the hands of our parents However as we get older our experiences with new people and places increase thereby broadening our food preferences and choices Habits - Most of eat from a particular core group of foods About one hundred items account for 75 percent of the foods most people eat Having a narrow range of
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