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Major Factors Affecting Diet

by Alia Butler

About Alia Butler

Alia Butler holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, concentrating in mental health, and a Master of Arts in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Currently, Butler is a freelance writer, penning articles focusing on mental health, healthy living and issues surrounding work-life balance. She is the principle/owner of ALIA Living, LLC, providing residential interior design services, professional organizing and life coaching.

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What you eat, what you like to eat, what you avoid eating and what you know you should eat all play a role in your diet and how you make decisions about your food choices. Some factors play a more major role than others including your cultural background, your knowledge of food or your health.

Culture

The immediate and societal culture you grew up in can affect the diet you eat. Those who live along the Mediterranean sea often eat a diet rich in healthy fats, plants and beans with few meats. People from Japanese cultures tend to eat diets of rice, fish and soy products. Western-based diets tend to be focused on meat, dairy products and starchy vegetables. The foods you grew up eating will affect the way you eat even in the future because these are the foods you are familiar with and enjoy.

Knowledge

Your knowledge about food can play a role in your diet. Your awareness of nutrients found in different foods most likely affects your daily food choices. Understanding the health benefits related to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes make you more likely to incorporate them into your diet while cutting down on their unhealthy alternatives such as refined grains and sugars. According to the a survey conducted by the Food Standards Agency of the United Kingdom, lower levels of education resulted in less healthy diets and higher rates of consumption of chips, fried foods and potatoes when compared to the diets of men and women who had higher a education.

Access

Your access to certain foods will play a role in your diet. Some foods are not always available in certain parts of the country or the world, thus affecting dietary choices. Also, in more impoverished areas, fewer fresh, unprocessed foods are available, geographically limiting the diets of people who reside in those areas.

Disease

Disease can contribute to your dietary choices. If you have diabetes you should watch your carbohydrate intake, limit your fat intake and avoid foods such as refined grains and sugar, which can send your blood sugar levels spiking. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, people with Celiac disease should eliminate gluten, wheat proteins, rye or barley from their diet. Mental health diseases such as depression, alcoholism and eating disorders can play a role in your dietary decisions. Depression can make you overeat or forget about eating all together. People with alcoholism are often lacking in nutrients because they fill up on beer and other alcoholic beverages, forgetting to eat nutritional foods. Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can cause you to limit your diet and/or restrict your calorie intake; thus, limiting nutrients.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.