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Thursday, 24 January 2013 09:29

Why Crisis lead people to eat more high-calorie foods

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Many of us find ourselves comfort eating at times of crisis or depression. But new research suggests this even extends to times of economic hardship. Scientists at the University of Miami have found that bad news about the economy could cause us to pack on the pounds. That's because we tend to seek higher-calorie foods that will keep us satisfied for longer, reports daily mail

The research, published in Psychological Science, found when people were subconsciously primed with messages such as 'live for today,' they consumed nearly 40 per cent more food than compared to a control group primed with neutral words.

Furthermore, when volunteers were given messages indicating times were hard - but then told the food they were sampling was low-calorie, they ate roughly 25 per cent less food. 

The researchers say this is because if we perceive food resources are scarce, we actively seek out food with a higher calorie content.

“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,” said Juliano Laran, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration, who conducted the research with doctoral student Anthony Salerno.

“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.”

“It is clear from the studies that taste was not what caused the reactions, it was a longing for calories,” continued Laran. “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.”

Read 2221 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 January 2013 09:50