The unexpected effect of comfort food on bad moods

Posted on November 5, 2014

The research, published in the journal Health Psychology, found that people who ate nothing recovered from a bad mood just as quickly as those who ate their preferred comfort food.

In the study conducted, participants watched an 18-minute video that was guaranteed to make them anxious, afraid and depressed. After that, they were give either their preferred comfort food, a neutral food (a granola bar), or no food. Then their mood was measured.

Comfort foods led to significant improvements in mood, but no more than other foods or no food. Although people believe that comfort foods provide them with mood benefits, comfort foods do not provide comfort beyond that of other foods (or no food).

The fact that all groups felt better after a time is likely due to the psychological immune system, our natural ability to recover from bad moods. So, people were giving the credit to the comfort food for something their minds were doing automatically.

The researchers conclude that removing an excuse for eating a high-calorie or high-fat food may help people develop and maintain healthier eating habits, and may lead them to focus on other, food-free methods of improving their mood.

Click the link below to read the full article.

Source material from PSY Blog