A joint study conducted by researchers at University of Miami and University of Florida suggests that people who feel sad tend to shun unhealthy food items.
The researchers conducted a number of experiments on a group of volunteers to test their eating behavior after being shown sad or neutral words or images. The participants were first shown images of a number of print ad images of food items such as pizza and chocolate cake or ads of neutral items such as washing machines. They were then asked to complete a writing task that made them sad and at the end they were given an opportunity to eat indulgent foods.
The researchers found that those who were first shown images of indulgent foods and then made to feel sad ate comparably less than those who were shown neutral images. The participants were also more likely to indicate how consuming indulgent foods could lead to health problems. The study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
"For brands looking to understand what triggers help and hinder people in their ability to eat healthy foods, we provide insight into when sadness might aid consumers in becoming less prone to indulging in unhealthy foods on a daily basis", lead researcher Chris Janiszewski said.