Entries in Comfort Food (2)


Study: Comfort Foods Emotionally Good for You

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- Comfort foods may not be good for your waistline or your cholesterol level, but they can definitely warm your heart, according to a new study published in Psychological Science.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo ran multiple experiments to judge or invoke participants' loneliness, and then measured their feelings and thoughts when comfort foods were thrown into the mix.  They found that when the participants wrote about the foods, memories of eating with loved ones arose.  Participants who were given soup also thought more about relationships.

"What we found is that people have the capacity to create a comfort food for themselves by having it be something that's consistently associated with their close others," said the study's co-author, Jordan Troisi.

Researchers concluded that comfort foods are social surrogates, which is why people turn to them when they're feeling lonely or sad in an attempt to fill the hole in their hearts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Eating Comfort Food, Having Sex Relieve Stress

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(CINCINNATI, Ohio) – Although it has been known for some time that eating calorie-rich foods can help reduce stress, new research suggests that simply the act of performing such “pleasurable behavior” really does the trick.

By testing rats, researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that it wasn’t the calories associated with comfort food but rather the feeling of the comfort food hitting the taste buds that helped to ease stress. It was also discovered that other pleasurable behavior, such as sex, does the same thing.

Over a two-week period, rats that were confined in narrow tubes – a stressful situation, even for a rat – were fed a sugar solution (the rat version of comfort food) twice each day.

Their heart rate and stress hormone levels dropped significantly, as expected. They were also more sociable with other rats.

The same result occurred when the rats were given a sugar substitute with fewer calories. Rats that were introduced to a willing sexual partner also saw their stress indicators drop.

Finally, they introduced a sugar-rich drink directly into the rats' stomachs, thus bypassing the taste buds. It had no significant effect on the rats' stress levels.
"This indicates that the pleasurable properties of tasty foods, not the caloric properties, were sufficient for stress reduction," said post-doctoral researcher Yvonne Ulrich-Lai, lead author of a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Rather, if it feels good, it will work. But in the case of comfort food, it’s going to show up in your gut. Many research projects have linked stress and the use of comfort food to relieve it to the obesity crisis that threatens public health.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio