Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


EATINGBODIES — Result In Brief

Project ID: 249397
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Netherlands

You are what you eat: An in-depth study on eating

What does eating involve for humans? An EU initiative explored eating in various Western European settings.
You are what you eat: An in-depth study on eating
Thanks to EU funding, the EATINGBODIES (The eating body in Western practice and theory) project set out to study how eating is shaped in different Western European practices and theories.

Work began by mapping existing literature and integrating knowledge on what constitutes 'eating'. Activities focused on four themes: the eating body's health in curbing calorie intake against maximising satisfaction; the eating body's tasting sensitivity in different practices; the eating body and other eaters; and the eating body and its environment in absorbing food, expelling waste and different bodily limits. This helped to define an anthropology of the eating body in Western practices.

A fifth area concerned the eater in theory. Project partners found that even though eating is universal, it is notably lacking in the theories of Western philosophical custom. This has implications for social sciences which include an actor modelled on the neuromuscular body. This actor sees, hears, moves and manipulates, but does not eat.

Using findings from the empirical studies on the eating body, the EATINGBODIES team modelled the actor on the eater. It found that eaters are not distant observers, but are engaged in their environment. Eaters are not impartial judges, but value their food as they eat it.

Research covered obesity care practices, everyday eating establishments, actions to counter food waste, as well as treatment practices that reteach swallowing to brain-injured people and those suffering from constipation. It also dealt with global hunger concerns, advantages and disadvantages of eating insects and the ecological impacts of crop enhancement.

Several published papers deal with how such practices implicate several key actors, including eaters and creatures grown to serve as food for humans.

EATINGBODIES greatly contributed to the state of the art in eating in diverse Western European practices.

Related information


Eating, EATINGBODIES, eating body
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