Has Covid Changed Your Relationship With Food

Has being at home more changed your relationship with food.
Whether you are still working from home or are back in an office, it’s likely that how you eat now may look a little different than it did pre-pandemic. Research shows that this is very much so a trend, for better and for worse in some cases.

There are some parallels across the eating behaviour surveys about how relationships to food have changed on a global level. Let’s take a closer look at these changes then dive into expert-advice solutions.

 One Year Later: How Has COVID-19 Affected Our Nutrition?

Domestic Eating Behaviour Changes

A survey conducted in April 2020 by the International Food Information Council revealed that 80%  have changed their eating habits since lockdown began in March 2020.

Increased Snacking

From the 1000 participants who responded to the survey, 41% of those under age 35, as well as adults with kids, noted an increase in snacking from before and during the lockdown.

Increased Thinking about Food Among Women

The results revealed further gender differences between panelists. Individuals who identified as female reported to have increased thoughts surrounding food and found themselves eating more frequently than their male counterparts.

Increased Usage of Tech to Benefit Health

The survey also discovered that one in five use a monitoring device or health app to help track diet and/or activity. Of participants using these devices, 66% noted a positive health change they wouldn’t have otherwise made.

Global Eating Behaviour Changes

Research published in the June 2020 issue of Nutrients looked at responses from female participants to an online survey that asked questions related to their physical activity and eating behaviours since the pandemic lockdown spread globally.

The majority of responses came from Europe, Africa, and Asia, a small 3% of panelists being from “Other” countries.

Increased Disordered Eating Behaviours

While the research did not clearly specify if eating disorders or disordered eating patterns were noted in these women, a separate smaller survey was conducted in Portugal to gain insight on how the pandemic had impacted disordered eating behaviours in women. The research revealed was that female participants experienced an increase in meal skipping (52.8%), grazing eating behaviour (80.9%), overeating (81.0%), loss of control over eating (47.2%), and binge eating episodes (39.2%) during the lockdown.

Increased Snacking, Especially on Less Nutrient-Dense Foods

What the survey responses revealed was that women noted a decline in what they perceived as “healthy eating behaviours”. Of note, women felt that since the lockdown began they experienced an increase in food consumption, noting eating less nutrient-dense foods while also consuming more frequent meals and snacks.

Increased Need for Stress Management, Specifically for Women

Similar to the results pertaining to women, these research surveys clearly indicate there is a need for more tailored interventions directed at women to help them psychologically manage the stressors of the past year on their own health and eating behaviours.

A Word From HPI

Global lockdowns have caused people across the world to discover insights into their own eating behaviours since dining at home was the norm for many this last year. Whether the concept of intuitive eating, intermittent fasting, or another way of eating has taken interest in your household, the most important thing professionals advise is to find what works for you and lean into that.

If you or someone you know has developed disordered eating as a result of the pandemic stress, professionals encourage you to seek help for your condition. We at HPI have worked with so many of late, identifying eating disorders and the effects of over training thats led them down a catastrophic path of being unhealthy.
Consider working with us at Human Performance Ireland and our registered dietitian to help you identify the correct plan that works best for you and using science let us show you how you can feel like your healthiest self moving forward.

Contact us today.

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