Each day we encounter environmental food cues almost everywhere we look. The effects of food cues may have a subtle but powerful influence on our decisions regarding what to eat and drink. The smart packaging, the clever logos, and the catchy jingles all serve to remind us of the enjoyable experience of eating certain foods in the hopes that we will buy and eat more of it.
Cues can be visual, mental, auditory or even olfactory (smelled).
Imagine you get a whiff of your favorite food and then find yourself feeling hungry, the food’s smell is serving as the unconditioned stimulus and your feeling of hunger is the unconditioned response. This stimulus-response pattern is considered “unconditioned” because it doesn’t have to be learned; it’s natural.
Cues do their job: they make us want to eat food. And unfortunately, if you are overweight or obese, they may be even more effective. So be aware of your cues.