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July 18, 2007 / Tony

The science of comfort foods

MSNBC has a nice article on comfort foods.  Here’s the passage I found most interesting:

Why? These foods help maintain positive feelings or soothe us. When we’re in a bad mood, dishes like macaroni and cheese give a quick bump of euphoria, similar to a hug from a loved one. Research has shown that fatty or sugary foods can trigger the release of “feel good” chemicals in the brain and cut the level of stress hormones.

Mood also determines what we crave. Happy folks in the study preferred somewhat healthier foods, such as pizza or steak. People in sad moods were much more likely to reach for sugary, fatty foods such as ice cream, cookies or a bag of potato chips because they were looking for a quick way to perk themselves up emotionally.

Who knew that fat and sugar are druglike in the sense that they have a definite physiological effect?

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One Comment

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  1. Becky / Jul 19 2007 8:41 am

    Funny! This is particularly appropriate because I’ve had a cold all week and last night all that I felt like eating was Macaroni and Cheese. Luckily, Noodles & Co. was available for a quick fix. And after I finished, I began to feel a little better!

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