Wikepedia defines a foodie as “a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.’’
A fairly broad definition that would include most of us. But another question is how does being a self-proclaimed foodie influence health and eating habits? Researchers from Cornell University took a look at this question.
Subjects were 502 healthy young, nonvegetarian women. The survey measures assessed participants’ eating adventurousness, perceptions of novel foods, height, weight, weight satisfaction and social characteristics related to food and dining. Eating adventurousness was assessed by asking participants if they had tried any of 16 novel foods. If they had eaten nine or more of these novel foods, they were adventurous eaters.
Adventurous eaters had a lower BMI when compared to nonadventurous eaters but sadly were less satisfied with their weight. Adventurous eaters reported higher levels of cooking to connect with their heritage, and they put less value on the importance of foods celebrities eat. They also rated themselves as healthier eaters, more physically active and more concerned with the healthfulness of their food when compared to nonadventurous eaters.
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The takeaway here is that the way to a healthier weight might be a lot more interesting than most believe. Adding in novel foods such as edamame, quinoa, dandelion greens, black rice, smoked eel or whatever else catches your eye might be a better strategy than restricting oneself to salad and chicken every day.
Using Wansink’s scale, you are an adventurous eater if you have or would you be willing to taste nine of the following foods; kale, seitan, quinoa, seaweed, bean sprouts, beef tongue, eel, quail eggs, rabbit, kimchi, tempeh, venison, polenta, liver, raw oysters and pork belly. I guess my mother making me try liver and tongue (which I no longer eat) started me on this food journey.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow @sheahrarback on Twitter.