advertisement
28 January 2013

Bad news makes you eat more

Tough economic times can lead people to eat much more than they normally would, a recent study finds.

0

Tough economic times can lead people to eat much more than they normally would, a recent study finds.

So, to cut down on kilojoules, tune out bad news, the study author suggests.

Study participants who were given numerous messages about tough times ate nearly 40% more food than those who were given neutral messages. The researchers also found that messages about tough times led people to desire more high-kilojoule foods.

In one experiment, participants were told that they were taking part in a taste test for a new kind of M&M's candy. They were told one bowl had M&M's with high-kilojoule chocolate while the other bowl had M&M's with low-calorie chocolate. In fact, there was no difference in the candies.

Before doing the taste test, the participants were shown posters that contained either neutral sentences or sentences about struggle and adversity. Those who saw the struggle and adversity posters ate about 70% more of the "high-kilojoule" candy than the "low-kilojoule" option, while those who saw the neutral posters ate about the same amounts of both types of candy.

The study, released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Psychological Science, received no funding from private industry.

"It is clear from the studies that taste was not what caused the reactions, it was a longing for kilojoules," study author Juliano Laran, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration, said in a journal news release.

'Longing for kilojoules'

"These findings could have positive implications for individuals in the health care field, government campaigns on nutrition, and companies promoting wellness. And, certainly beware of savvy food marketers bearing bad news," he added.

"The findings of this study come at a time when our country is slowly recovering from the onslaught of negative presidential campaign ads chalked with topics such as the weak economy, gun violence, war, deep political divides, just to name a few problem areas," Laran noted.

"Now that we know this sort of messaging causes people to seek out more calories out of a survival instinct, it would be wise for those looking to kick off a healthier new year to tune out news for a while," he suggested.

Read more:

Economy linked to suicide

Access to contraception would improve economy

More information

The US Department of Agriculture offers nutrition tips.

 

(Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.) 

 
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Get rid of lice! »

Toddler dies after DIY lice treatment Back-to-school head lice Comb out head lice

20 head lice myths debunked

Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live in human hair. They cannot fly, jump or swim and are spread by head-to-head contact. Check out this infographic to learn more.

About gout »

Treatment of Gout Signs and symptoms of gout What is Gout?

Is your diet causing gout?

Suffering from gout? There's a lot you can do to prevent this horribly painful condition. Start by cutting out these 14 foods.