Why we eat our way through sad times - research

When we're sad, we often turn to food.Photo / Thinkstock
When we're sad, we often turn to food.Photo / Thinkstock

From heartache to hangovers, it's the emotional crutch that many a woman will turn to. But why is it so hard to stop after a few scoops of ice cream?

A new study suggests that our emotions can make us perceive the taste of food differently - and most significantly, less able to register how much fat we are eating.

The researchers, from the University of Wurzburg, in Germany, also found that when people are particularly happy or sad they are better able to detect bitter, sweet and sour flavours.

In fact, after watching emotional videos, the study participants' ability to detect these tastes was increased by 15 per cent.

They asked a group of volunteers to taste a range of creamy drinks containing differing levels of fat.

Before taking part in the tasting, they were shown three different video clips - one showing a happy scene, one a sad scene, and the other a dull one.

It was discovered that watching the boring video had no influence on the participant's taste buds, The Salt reports.

However, after watching the emotional videos, the volunteers were less able to detect whether the drinks were high in fat or not.

Dr Paul Breslin, study co-author, said that he was surprised to discover being emotional meant that people were less able to detect fat, while their ability to perceive of other flavours increased.

He explained that these findings fit with others which imply that people who suffer from depression are less able to detect the levels of fat in their food.

The research could explain why it is that recent research has shown that financial worries are causing people to pile on the pounds.

A Weight Watchers study found that three quarters of Britons are ignoring diet advice and gorging on unhealthy treats that lift their spirits in gloomy times.

As a result, the report claims that 18.3 million people have put on weight because of their financial situation.

The research also reveals that people are being taken in by the temptation of attractively priced unhealthy foods - eight out of ten cash strapped Britons admit to choosing cheap food over healthy options.

- DAILY MAIL

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