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JIAAP Online First

JIAAP July 2022
What do Eating Patterns Reveal? Implications for Mood and Cognition
Shreya Verma, Meetu Khosla and Palak Sharma
With the sudden entrance of COVID-19 Pandemic, people were forced to stay indoors. This led to their eating habits being altered and their food choices deteriorated. As the lockdown period increased, people often used eating food as a coping mechanism to deal with stress, further leading to faulty eating patterns. The aim of the study was to understand how eating patterns of young adults affect their cognitive processes and mood. A total of 253 participants (118- Males and 135- Females; 18-24 years old) completed the 18-item Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ-r18) and a 19-item qualitative questionnaire, pertaining to the influence of food on Self, Cognition, Emotional, and Physical aspects. Correlation between the 3 aspects of TFEQ showed significant positive correlation. Emotional Eating was positively correlated with both, Uncontrolled Eating and Cognitive Restraint. Moreover, based on the qualitative questionnaire, it was found that eating habits affected not only one’s cognition and emotions, but also had an impact on their self and physical image. The questionnaire also included questions about comfort foods which conclude the different types of foods one likes to eat under different circumstances. Majority people felt happy, calm, relaxed, less anxious or stressed, and experienced an improved and uplifted mood that lasted for about a day. A minority number of respondents reported feeling guilty after eating their favorite food. Implications of faulty eating patterns on cognition and mood are discussed, emphasizing the need to develop educational intervention programs promoting healthy food choices.