Comfort food is not actually comforting according to a recent study

A study has found evidence that comfort food is not actually comforting, and that mood isn’t altered by satisfyingly tasty, yet unhealthy, foods, and begs the question why do we eat unhealthily when upset in the first place?
Research led by psychologist Traci Mann at the University of Minnesota has found that food probably doesn’t affect our mood very much, if at all.
Upsetting a selection of students at the university by having them watch sad film clips, the researchers then treated some of them to their favourite comfort food. The rest were given food to eat which they liked, but wouldn’t consider comfort food.
They were questioned on their mood and how they felt, and it was discovered that all the students felt better after a short amount of time after they finished watching the clips, regardless of what food they ate.
This indicated that comfort food doesn’t actually make us feel better.
Mann said “That’s not what we expected. We kept repeating the study, because we didn’t believe it.”
They repeated the study with students who were given no food at all, alongside a group who were given comfort food, after watching sad clips, and it was again found that there was no difference in mood afterward.
The study was published in the journal Health Psychology.
One of the theories behind comfort food is that the foods we turn to when sad are the ones that we associate with happy memories, especially celebrations, but apparently this has no effect on our mood, and so they are not efficient mood enhancers.
Of course, this study, as with the majority of studies, had some limitations, specifically focusing only on one kind of negative mood: watching sad films. Sadness on a more personal level, such as a breakup, may be alleviated more by a comfort eating but that is much harder to orchestrate for a scientific study, so it is left unknown.
Regardless, it is obvious that sitting down and eating a tub of ice cream is not part of a healthy diet, and comfort eating can be one of the factors that leads to people being overweight and obese. Happiness does not lie at the bottom of a bag of doughnuts, and you should avoid unbalancing your diet so drastically.

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