Have you ever had a crappy day and just wanted to indulge in a large pizza followed by a chocolate bar? A new study has found craving fatty foods is linked to our emotions.
The authors of the study discovered that the hormones in our stomachs appear to communicate directly with our brains, independent of any feelings we have about a particular food.
The study authors found that emotional eating operates on a biological as well as psychological level.
Volunteers who took part in the small study were feed by unmarked tubes. One contained a solution of saturated fatty acids and the other a saline control solution.
The researchers then played the volunteers sad classical music and presented them with sad images. They discovered that those that had the saline control solution found the sad music much more depressing then those who had fatty acids in their stomachs.
The participants were given MRI brain scans during the experiment and they found that the fatty solution appeared to dampen activity in parts of the brain that are involved in sadness and that responded to the gloomy music. "Eating fat seems to make us less vulnerable to sad emotions, even if we don't know we're eating fat," points out psychiatrist Dr. Lukas Van Oudenhove, co-author of the study.
But while this may explain why you reach out for junk food for comfort this is also bad as we are faced with everyday stresses and shouldn't be turning to fatty foods to help with those feelings.
Giovanni Cizza, M.D., an obesity and neuroendocrinology researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in the UK, said "evolution has provided us with, if you wish, an over-the-counter anti-anxiety or anti-sadness product.
Maybe if you're sad and you feel like that chocolate could help you, go for it. Don't feel too guilty, but try to limit what you eat and maybe later cut down on something else."