19-06 Segment 2: What Determines Our Food Preferences

RHJ 19-06b wordpress

Scientists are discovering that our food preferences are much more than a matter of taste, and that taste itself is more complicated than we thought. Psychology also plays a role. An expert discusses what determines preferences, such as why some people like jalapeno peppers & black coffee, and some don’t.


  • Dr. Rachel Herz, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, and author, Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship With Food

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Medical Notes 18-43

Medical Notes this week…

Nearly 25 million adults and children in the United States have been diagnosed with hay fever… and millions more probably have it without being diagnosed. But a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that a hay fever vaccine developed for mice not only works… it works quickly. Human vaccines for some forms of human allergy already exist, including hay fever, but they take three to five years to be effective. Scientists hope the new vaccine in development may change how people approach allergy season.

Egg freezing has become almost common among upwardly mobile young women, but a new study finds that holding off kids for work doesn’t have much to do with it. Rather, the study presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology shows that a much higher proportion of women are freezing their eggs because they haven’t found a man they want to have a family with.

And finally… here’s more evidence that there really may be such a thing as junk food addiction. A study in the journal Appetite shows that people who quit eating junk food suffer withdrawal symptoms that are remarkably like someone stopping drug use. Researchers say symptoms like sadness, irritability, and cravings peaked in the first two to five days after quitting junk food… and then tapered off.

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15-07 Story 2: Mindless Eating


Synopsis: People eat for reasons other than satisfying hunger, and those reasons play a great role in whether we eat too much or not. Experts discuss the role of the environment in our appetites and how we may use it to stay slim.

Host: Nancy Benson. Guests: Dr. Brian Wansink, Director, Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and author, Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life; Dr. Barbara Rolls, Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Penn State University and author, The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

Click here for the transcript.