Food and well-being

Theme 3

Les aliments que nous consommons permettent de fournir les nutriments essentiels à notre bon fonctionnement. Au-delà de l’aspect nutritionnel, l’acte de manger est également une manière de socialiser et peut être une source de bien-être, mais aussi parfois une source de préoccupations.


Adopting healthy eating habits helps to prevent lifestyle-related chronic diseases and has a significant impact on physical and mental health. It is therefore essential to pay attention to the different factors that influence food choices and eating behaviours. Associations that link eating habits to health are, furthermore, complex. So it is critical to identify the mechanisms underlying these associations in order to develop more targeted interventions.

The research associated with this theme will help to:

  • Identify factors that favor the adoption of eating habits and behaviours;
  • Suggest explanatory models that take into account the links between eating habits and health, and well-being;
  • Develop new nutritional interventions to prevent and treat certain lifestyle-related chronic diseases;
  • Develop interventions for people with eating disorders.


Eating Habits

It is important to properly document the eating habits of the different groups in our population. This information helps to identify nutritional issues specific to each of these groups. Improved knowledge about the factors that influence the adoption of certain eating habits is in addition proving to be essential to refine the elements subject to interventions aiming at promoting the healthy eating pattern.

Eating habits are studied at INAF within the Quebec general population, but also with groups that have specific characteristics, such as pregnant women, children, and people living with obesity.

Eating Attitudes and Behaviours

Eating behaviours and attitudes refer to the different thoughts and patterns of conduct in relation to the food supply and exist along a continuum from healthy to pathological. Cognitive restraint, disinhibition, and susceptibility to hunger are among the most studied eating behaviours.

Several researchers at INAF are interested in attitudes and eating behaviours as factors that may facilitate or hinder the adoption of healthy eating habits. Identifying mechanisms (low inhibition, impulsivity, stress, emotions) that may lead to the adoption of more or less healthy eating behaviours, as well as their impacts on physical and mental health are among the research themes covered.

Prevention and Management of Eating Disorders

The theme of the food supply and well-being cannot ignore the fact that certain people are faced with eating difficulties accompanied by significant psychological distress. Anorexia, bulimia, accesses to hyperphagia and nocturnal eating syndromes are all medically recognized disorders. Some other problems like orthorexia or even “mommyrexia”, which are found specifically in clienteles consisting of pregnant women, do not have official diagnostic criteria, but are nevertheless of concern and must be studied.

INAF researchers are working not only to understand these disorders but also to better screen and treat them. The INAF can count on the collaboration of the Centre d’Expertise Poids, Image, Alimentation (CEPIA) as a place of knowledge transfer where practice and research are interconnected. The Centre provides indeed psychological and nutritional counseling, based on evidence while trying to better understand the people who seek services from CEPIA.

Prevention and Management of Lifestyle-Related Chronic Diseases

Improving dietary habits can have a major positive impact on the prevention and management of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. It is thus essential to carry out research projects aimed at identifying promising nutritional approaches to support health.

Intervention studies using bioactive molecules, nutrients, foods as well as specific dietary patterns are carried out at INAF and are all with the common objective of contributing to chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Certain research teams are in addition paying particular attention to the way to intervene in order to foster sustainable behavioural changes and thus maximize the impact of interventions.


Areas of Expertise

  • Prevention of obesity, diabetes and cardiometabolic diseases
  • Nutrition and immunity
  • Nutrition and brain health
  • Eating disorders
  • Preclinical studies
  • In vitro digestion model
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Eating behaviours
  • Nutritional epidemiology

Research chairs

Research Chair in Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Complications

Holder: André Marette
For more information

Research Chair in Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery

Holder: André Tchernof
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Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Energy Balance

Holder: Angelo Tremblay
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NSERC/Diana Food Industrial Research Chair on the Effects of Polyphenol Prebiotics from Fruits and Vegetables (PhenoBio)

Holder: Yves Desjardins
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Louise and André Charron Research Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease

Holder: Charles Ramassamy
For more information


See all the themes

Our scientific program revolves around six major unifying themes.