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We all have a favorite food that we love to eat when we feel down or even when we are happy. It’s our comfort food, and typically, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, chicken soup, and of course, chocolate, all fall into this category. However, even though we see these foods as possible stress relievers, they might not be doing us any favors. Also Read - 'Feel Liberated' by Finely Crushing Chutney? Nutrition Expert Rujuta Diwekar's Latest Tweet Gets Twitter Divided Over Gender Roles-Stereotypes
A study conducted by University of Minnesota psychology professor Traci Mann proves the idea that comfort food does not bring comfort. She asked 100 university students to watch a few clips from sad movies in an attempt to make them feel distressed and gloomy. Afterwards, half of these students were fed their favorite comfort food, while the other half was given ordinary food that they enjoyed. Also Read - Gochujeon or Chilli Pepper Pancakes Recipe: Follow These Easy Steps to Make The Tasty Pancakes at Home
Subsequently, the students were questioned about their feelings. Mann discovered that all students felt better and less miserable, without even considering what they had eaten.
The experimenters carried out four trials to validate their findings by changing the food that was fed to the two groups. In one of the tests, half of the students were fed with comfort foods and the other half was not given anything to eat.
At the end of experiment, the researchers reported that the participants’ moods improved over time. They further added, “this happened to the same extent, regardless of which type of food they ate or whether they ate any food at all.”
The analysis, in a way, gives a helpful explanation: Removing the link between such high-calorie foodstuff and one’s mood can help people emphasize on healthier living habits by uncovering food-free methods of improving our disposition.
The study, however, does have a few inadequacies. It focused on only one kind of bad mood, which occurred as a result of watching sad films.
Moreover, we eat comfort foods in a different context in real life, such as in a café or a preferred eatery. A few other studies have given faint evidences about the positive impact of food on our emotions.
However, the American Psychological Association claims that an improved mood does not have to do with the food itself but with the sentiments that we associate what we are eating. The foods that we correspond with comfort are ones that we frequently ate during childhood, memorable moments or with beloved people.
It is the relationship that exists between food and beautiful recollections from happier times that possibly takes us to a better place and a more pleasant time.
Scientifically, comfort foods may not bring you the solace you were hoping for–instead, finding a healthy solution to discomforting stress might come in handy.