Factors That Affect Dietary Habits & Nutritional Status

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  • 0:02 Favorite Foods
  • 0:36 Culture & Religion
  • 1:33 Genetics & Medical Conditions
  • 2:16 Social, Financial & More
  • 4:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Do you know why you eat what you eat? Can you name the factors that have led you to like what you like? This lesson outlines many of the factors that affect our dietary habits and, in some cases, our nutritional status.

Favorite Foods

What's your favorite food? Is it pizza? Is it pasta? Maybe it's guacamole or eel? Answering that question is pretty easy for most of us, but how about this one: Why is it your favorite food? You may think it's the taste of the food, but did you ever think about things like culture? Had you grown up in a different culture, you may have never developed the taste for what is now your favorite food. Culture, religion, money, media, and medical conditions all affect our dietary habits and nutritional status. Let's see how.

Culture and Religion

A person's culture and religion can most certainly influence their dietary habits. For example, some practices of Judaism and Islam forbid the consumption of pork, or hog's flesh. And, while the people who have strict adherence to this rule may miss out on the tasty bacon so many people love, they also miss out on yet another source of food that may contribute to obesity and heart disease too. You win some, you lose some, eh? However, religion isn't the only thing that may alter a person's dietary habits. Your culture may do exactly the same thing. Some cultures consider insects to be a tasty treat. Other cultures wouldn't dare touch one, let alone eat one. Some cultures revolve around a seafood diet, while others revolve around beef, a less healthy option. Basically, depending on where you grow up or who your parents are, the foods you eat and enjoy may be quite different from a similar person in another country, or even across the street.

Genetics and Medical Conditions

The food you eat and how it influences your body may be changed if you become less religious or if you stop following the customs of your culture. However, there are things that cannot be changed very easily, if at all. These are medical conditions and genetic factors that influence a person's dietary habits. Someone who has diabetes, an incurable disease, has to be extraordinarily careful in the kinds of foods they eat, based on the calorie and sugar count of the product in question. Somebody who is lactose intolerant, commonly as a result of genetic factors, may be unable to consume any or all milk products. Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk.

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