Stressing Over Comfort Foods

The general assumption has always been that when people get stressed out, they turn to comfort foods as an edible anchor during times of change. Whether that's a soft drink, a bag of chips or a double cheeseburger, the familiarity of an old favorite is supposed to offer some brief but welcome respite from reality. Not so says a study recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Scientists from the University of South Carolina had hundreds of students choose between a familiar brand of potato chips or a type produced in unusual flavors and sold exclusively in Europe. Subjects who reported feeling stressed or who were undergoing significant life changes were much more likely to try something new. In this case, that meant snacking on Cheese & Pickle flavored 'crisps'.

The Bigger Picture: This study went beyond food to show that those who were experiencing turbulence in their lives also tried new deodorants and rented movies they wouldn't normally select. Broadening your horizons can be a very healthy activity so long as you don't lose sight of calories, portion size and nutrient balance.
Leave a Comment