Are you ready to read what many studies have reported in psychological articles comfort food?
Would you even believe that the University of Illinois Food and Brand Lab even came up with their own definition?
Here it is:
"a specific food consumed under a specific situation to obtain psychological comfort."
Researchers from the University of Illinois also concluded that people include home-made healthy food as comfort food almost as much as processed junk food that is less nutritious and higher in fat and sugar.
Other researchers from the same university studied the effects of watching a happy movie or sad movie on food selection. Viewers of "Sweet Home Alabama", a happy movie, ate more grapes than the viewers of "Love story", a sad movie, who ate more buttered salted popcorn.
Let's start with this study on Americans and comfort food:
A Country CrockTM Side Dishes Comfort Food Survey was conducted in October 2004 on 1006 Americans. Here are the conclusions they came to:
Psychology Today reported in 2006 that when 1005 men and women were asked to choose their favorite comfort food, they said ice cream. According to Brian Wansink, Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, such a craving for ice cream could originate from a desire to recapture happy, carefree days of our childhood.
Here's the summary of research that was conducted by the University of California, San Francisco on comfort food cravings:
Based on research conducted on rats, scientists have concluded that there is a biochemical feedback system that could explain comfort food cravings during stress and weight gain around the abdomen. This is all linked to cortisol that is generated while under stress. The studies "suggest that comfort food applied the brakes on a key element of chronic stress," said Norman Pecoraro, PhD.
Pecoraro also referred to the middle-aged man or woman with a gut in these words: "This body type represents the classic distribution of fat from stress." Losing weight then becomes a Catch 22 where stress causes weight gain, and trying to lose weight is stressful, which increases the likelihood of weight gain.
Now a little closer to home for me... Researchers at Cornell University and McGill University in Montreal, Canada reported that women are more prone to eat high-fat, high-sugar comfort food such as cake and ice cream. The study also concluded that women do so with feelings of guilt, loneliness and/or depression. Men choose soups, pasta and steaks to help their mood.
Stress is not the only reason why people eat comfort food. This study also included another section that covered the selection of comfort food while dieting. It appears that women who are dieting are particularly prone to overindulging in the forbidden foods that are high in fat and sugar when they felt negative feelings.
When eating habits get out of control, the danger is to fall in the traps of binging, bulimia or anorexia.
Learn more about psychological articles on comfort food and pick up some great recipes.
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