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Study reveals why we eat when we are sad

Study reveals why we eat when we are sad

A study concluded that the feeling of tranquility when eating certain foods is produced by the direct relationship between the brain and stomach.

Food can comfort some people. However, experts had not been able to define why, for example, we turn to fatty or sweet foods when we feel sad. But a new study concluded that hormones in our stomach communicate directly with the brain, causing a pleasurable sensation, reports.

Much of the existing research on food and emotions is related to experience: taste, smell, texture, sensations, and even nutrients. Therefore, it was believed that memories associated with certain foods were the reason for "emotional eating."

However, for the new study the subjective was eliminated; The participants were fed through a gastric tube, the Journal Of Clinical Investigation article stated.

The 12 volunteers - healthy and of normal weight - were given two types of food directly from their stomachs, without revealing the contents: a solution with fatty acids and a control saline solution.

According to, the first solution was used because foods often eaten for comfort contain high levels of fat.

Then, the researchers induced feelings of sadness in the participants, through classical music and showing them images of faces with distressed expressions, the portal indicated. A survey of volunteers about their mood revealed that they perceived classical music as sadder after receiving the saline solution than after the fat solution.

Magnetic resonance images captured during the experiment reflected these insights. The fat solution reduced activity in parts of the brain related to feeling sad, or that react to sad music, said.

This is one of the first studies to show that the effect of food on mood is independent of pleasurable stimuli, explain experts consulted by the site.

Although the biological causes are unclear, the study's findings suggest that the stomach could influence the brain by releasing hormones, said one of the study's authors, Lukas Van Oudenhove, a physician and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leuven in Belgium. .

According to specialists interviewed by, the study reflects that the emotional effect of food helped humans survive when food was scarce and they struggled to find it. However, the usefulness of this process could be exceeded, in an environment where food is available almost anywhere, which could be leading to problems of obesity and eating disorders.

The negative stimuli experienced by the research participants are minimal, they explain, compared to the motivations that can drive a person to eat emotionally: a divorce, job loss or an illness. Therefore, they advise limiting the search for comfort in food to avoid overweight problems. .

The editorial that accompanies the study raises the possibility that obese people are more resistant to emotional cues from food than thin people. Because of this, the experts consulted by They noted that more work is needed to find ways to calm and comfort people without the need to consume so many calories.

Remember that prevention is better than cure

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