Foodies are described as being people who take a special interest in food. They make it their hobby to know what ingredients are in a meal and what it takes to prepare it.
They take great pride in the dishes that they prepare and regularly enjoy trying out new, uncommon recipes, but not necessarily fancy ones. They enjoy a good burger every bit as much as they do caviar. One might also call them gourmands, or adventurous eaters.
And now, a new study conducted by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab has found that these adventurous eaters are staying healthier and keeping themselves in better shape than the rest of us.
For their study, published in the journal Obesity, the researchers looked at more than 500 women with an average body mass index (BDI) of 25.96. None of then were vegetarian, 43 percent (43%) of them were white, 27 percent (27%) black, 25 percent (25%) Hispanic, and 5 percent (5%) other.
The subjects were selected from all across the United States, and the experts questioned them on their eating habits, weight satisfaction, and perceptions that they had on novel foods. The researchers also wanted to know what their physical and psychological characteristics were, as well as what kind of lifestyle and personality they had.
The test consisted of showing these subjects a list of sixteen (16) foods that were not typical for American citizens, and asking them whether or not they had tried any of them. Adventurous eaters were defined as being those who had tasted at least nine (9) of the items on the list. Some of these dishes were Kimchi, seitan, polenta, beef tongue and sprouts.
The results showed that not only did adventurous eaters have healthier eating habits and a lower body mass index, but they were also the kind of people that spent more time doing physical exercises. Not to mention they were much more concerned with how healthy their food was, when compared to non-adventurous eaters.
Brian Wansink, study co-author, gave a statement stressing that “These findings are important to dieters because they show that promoting adventurous eating may provide a way for people – especially women – to lose or maintain weight without feeling restricted by a strict diet”.
Lauren Graf, clinical dietitian over at Montefiore Health System’s Cardiac Wellness Program (New York) gave a statement of her own to CBS News, saying that she often encourages her patients to try out new foods as this could help them in the development of healthier eating habits.
She went on to explain that exiting your comfort zone often encourages people to acquire a taste for foods that are healthier and have more nutrients that what they’re used to. Graf also added that this is a good strategy to keep yourself from getting bored with your meals, or from feeling like your depriving yourself of certain meals.
On top of everything, the researchers found that one of the reasons why adventurous eaters cook is to connect to their heritage. But they are social creatures as well, as they proved to be much more likely to invite friends and acquaintances over for dinner than non-adventurous eaters.
Another interesting discovery was that non-adventurous eaters cared more about the way a meal looked than adventurous eaters. The team from Cornell University suggests that one way to encourage people to be more adventurous when it comes to their food is to design eye-catchy packaging with clear instructions on how to prepare exotic dishes.
The researchers admitted that they could not prove whether adventurous eaters have a lower body mass index because they choose to taste many different foods, or if people who happen to have a lower body mass index simply prefer to taste many different foods. They did specify, however, that trying to turn yourself into more of an adventurous eater can’t hurt weight or health.
One important side note is that higher weight satisfaction was not linked to being an adventurous eater.
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