Uncomfortable: Comfort Food Explained

eating ice-cream

 (DGIwire) — Well the news is out! The whole “comfort food” myth was just that…a myth. This according to the results of a recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota. The long and short of the study’s results were that when you are totally stressed and looking for relief in a bowl of ice cream, you could have derived the same amount of “comfort” or pleasure had you filled that bowl with fresh fruit.

“I ‘stress’ this phenomenon in all of my coaching,” says health expert Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH 2010). “Always reach for the healthiest option possible. In the short-term, you’ll feel just as ‘comforted’ as you would have had you chosen a bag of chips. The long term rewards are that you’ll see a speedier recovery, if necessary, and greater health along with a leaner waistline.”

The study further found that once your mind learned and believed that no additional “comfort” was received by eating food high in calories and fat, it might stop the “unhealthy pattern of behavior” of reaching for junk food whenever our mood is low, said University of Minnesota study researcher Heather Scherschel Wagner.

Wagner adds that the “Comfort Food Myth” is perpetuated because, “people attribute an improvement in mood to something they ate, without realizing that the [junk] food wasn’t necessarily responsible for the mood change.”

Griesel couldn’t agree more, “It’s a shame that we’ve bought in to the notion that eating something super sweet, like pastry, candy and ice cream or very salty like chips will make us feel better.  There are so many better choices.”


A final tip Griesel suggests:  Don’t make those unhealthy choices so readily available.  “Keep the health-sucking foods out of the house or office in the first place!  It’s a simple action, but one that we often forget.”