The Mood & Eating Behavior project at OnePlanet Research Center investigates the link between mood and eating behavior. The long-term objective is to get insights in the link between mood and eating behavior to assist people with just-in-time-adaptive-interventions to enhance mood and improve their health.
The smart SnackBox is a tool, developed at OnePlanet Research Center, to assess dietary consumption. The emphasis is on drinks and snacks that you consume between meals. This is also referred to as snacking behavior in everyday life.
In the Netherlands, we see that on average 30% of the daily caloric intake is coming from snacking. For overweight adults this can even be around 50%. Besides the obvious relationship between snacking behaviour and physical health, snacking has a particular strong connection to mental health as well. Where hunger is often the key factor in the quantity of consumption for meals, for snacking this is mood and mental well-being.
Studies caloric intake from snacking
There are quite a few laboratory studies that show that moods influence calorie intake through snacks. Moods like sadness or stress influence snack behaviour. With the smart SnackBox, OnePlanet was able to replicate these findings in a natural setting, at work or at home.
Besides the relationship with mood, the accuracy in time of the SnackBox also enables investigating the relationship between snacking and physiology in natural settings, using wearable data as additional input here.
Mapping these relationships helps in:
- understanding decision making and impulse control related to snacking behavior on group level.
- predicting future snack events on individual level.
The latter could also help the user by inducing just-in-time adaptive interventions and increasing self-awareness. This feedback-loop has proven to be effective in other lifestyle intervention programs on for example stress, and the smart SnackBox allows us to apply that framework to snacking behavior.