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Sad people choose
unhealthy foods

Sad people choose
unhealthy foods

People who feel sad eat less-healthy comfort foods than when they are happy, according to a study conducted at Cornell University. However, when presented with nutritional information, the sad people curb their eating habits, while happier people don't.

Researchers assigned 38 administrative assistants to watch one of two films: Sweet Home Alabama or Love Story. Throughout the films, the assistants were offered hot buttered popcorn or seedless grapes.

"After the movies were over and the tears were wiped away, those who had watched Love Story had eaten 36% more popcorn than those who had watched the upbeat Sweet Home Alabama," said Brain Wansink, Cornell professor and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, in a release. "Those watching Sweet Home Alabama spent much more time popping grapes as they laughed through the movie than they did eating popcorn."

Wansink suspects that sad people want to "jolt themselves out of the dumps" with a quick indulgent snack that tastes good and gives them an immediate "bump of euphoria." Happy people want to maintain their good moods but also consider the long-term effects, so they choose more healthy snacks.

The researchers also found that sad people who did not receive any nutritional information about popcorn ate twice as much as the happy people. When both groups were informed, however, the happy people ate about the same amount, but the sad people dramatically stopped, eating less popcorn than the happy people.

"While each of us may look for a comfort food when we are either sad or happy, we are likely to eat more of it when we are sad," Wansink concluded. "Those eating in a sad mood would serve themselves well by checking the nutritional information of the comfort foods they choose to indulge themselves with." (The Advocate)

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