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The Impact of Covid-19 Hygienic Measures on Food Choice and Eating Behavior
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1  Psychological Neuroscience Lab, CIPsi - University of Minho, Braga, Portugal
Academic Editor: Han-Seok Seo


The Covid-19 pandemic leads to several changes that affected not only emotional and psychological well being but also eating behavior. Herein, we sought to evaluate if depicting pandemic-related sanitary measures in a food consumption video would impact food appraisal, decreasing food attractiveness and the desire to eat. Participants performed, in two different days, an online protocol in which foods presented in a video, and following, in pictures, should be evaluated regarding visual aspect, expected smell and taste and desire to eat. The videos presented each day differed only regarding the presence/absence of sanitary elements adopted during the pandemic, composing the Covid/Non-Covid conditions. In both conditions sweet and high calorie foods were better evaluated when compared to salty and low calorie ones, being the sweet food evaluation higher in Non-Covid condition when compared to in Covid-condition. Only in Non-Covid condition the reported desire to eat was higher immediately after the video, and in both conditions it was higher at the end of the task when compared to baseline. Correlation analysis suggests that depression and anxiety symptoms may reduce smell appreciation of foods presented in the pandemic scenario. We conclude that food perception is affected by the presence of the sanitary measures adopted during the pandemic by reducing the desire to eat and food hedonic appreciation and further, that depression and anxiety symptoms may be related to higher negative impact of the pandemic in eating behavior.

Keywords: food behavior; multisensory food perception; priming; Covid-19