Bad News Can Make People Eat More

Bad News Can Make People Eat More

Stress may increase a person’s craving for food, according to a study.

One More Good Reason to Avoid Bad News

Hearing news about problems tied to a tough economy can make people eat more food than what they usually eat.

So, if you want to stop eating more and adding more to your weight, try to avoid listening to bad news.

The participants of this study were given many news reports regarding the tough times and these affected the amount of food they ate. They ate more compared to those who received neutral messages by about 40 percent. Not only did they eat more, the researchers noticed that they even craved for high-calorie foods.

The participants were told during one experiment that it was a taste test of a new product by M&M. The researchers said that one bowl of M&M’s candy was high-calorie chocolates and the other bowl of M&M’s was low-calorie chocolates. But the truth is the candies in the two bowls were the same.

Before tasting the candies, the participants looked at posters which either contain neutral messages or messages that tell about adversity and problems. The result of this test showed that the participants who saw the poster with neutral messages ate approximately the same amounts of high-calorie and low-calorie M&M chocolates. However, those who saw posters with adversity messages ate 70 percent more high calorie than low-calorie M&M chocolates.

This study was not sponsored at all by the private food industry.

Juliano Laran, the study author from the University of Miami School of Business Administration, commented that the eating behavior was due to the effect of the posters and not the taste of the candies.

Application of the study findings

These findings may find application in the healthcare industry, in the government’s project on nutrition and in the wellness campaigns of different companies. This may also be used in a negative way by savvy food marketers.

As for people who would like to eat healthier, it would be wise to avoid the bad news, so that your instinct to eat more calories will not be triggered.

Photo credits: Steve Davids via Flickr, CC by 2.0

Categories: Diet