Top | Sift

Not in the mood

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

It might be that depressing movie you're watching. Or your jitters over tomorrow's important meeting. Or the fact that your ex is getting married and you're, well, not. 

Any way you look at it, stress can drastically alter your food habits.

According to several studies conducted at Cornell University, your mood can affect not just what but how much you eat. For example, in one study the Cornell researchers recruited 38 administrative assistants to watch either an upbeat, heartwarming movie (in this case, "Sweet Home Alabama") or a sad, depressing one ("Love Story," natch). On hand during the screeings were both hot, buttered, salty popcorn and seedless grapes.

Cornell professor Brian Wansink, author of the recent book [%amazonProductLink asin=0553804340 "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" newpage=true], found that viewers who had watched the downer film had eaten 36 percent more popcorn than those who had watched the peppy film. 

His conclusion? Most people aren't as nutritionally or portion-savvy when a sad or bad mood strikes.

Chronic stress can also lead to a general loss of appetite. But whatever our fight-or-flight responses to stress may be, we all need to adjust our eating habits accordingly.