The Truth Behind Comfort Eating

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The Truth Behind Comfort Eating featured image

Do you ever find yourself on a date with Ben & Jerry after a hard day? If you crave bad-for-you foods when you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone. There may be a reason, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Scientists from the University of Leuven, in Belgium used MRIs to determine the emotional effects of fatty acids on the mind when directly injected into the stomach. For the experiment, researchers exposed 12 participants to sad music and sad images prior to giving them either fatty acids or saline via a feeding tube. Not knowing which substance they had received, the patients were asked to evaluate their mood.

Results reveal that the people who had been administered fatty acids were only half as sad after viewing the images and hearing the music, than the group who had been given saline instead. Because the fatty acids were not obtained by consuming food, the positive sensory experience of eating was eliminated. Therefore, the scientists behind the study have come to the conclusion that consuming fat may make us less vulnerable to sadness. Does that clear up the motives behind your late night ice cream cravings? More research is necessary to determine if these results can help in treating conditions like obesity, eating disorders and depression.

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