Negative mood promotes craving for sweets

Emotions experienced in everyday life can alter the hedonic experience of less-palatable food


Ians July 13, 2015
Emotions experienced in everyday life can alter the hedonic experience of less-palatable food.

Researchers have found that those who suffer defeat or are in negative emotional states tend to crave sweets more than those in a positive frame of mind.

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The research published in the journal Appetite focused on how a person's emotional state - particularly in the competitive world of sports - affects the perception of taste.

"We found how emotions arising from the outcome of college hockey games influenced the perception of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami (savory) taste... in addition to hedonic responses - or how much they liked or disliked the foods," said Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science at Cornell University in the US.

Emotions experienced in everyday life can alter the hedonic experience of less-palatable food, implying a link to emotional eating, the study said.

"In times of negative affect, foods of a less pleasurable nature become even more unappealing to taste, as more hedonically pleasing foods remain pleasurable," Dando said.

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"This is why when the team wins, we are okay with our regular routine foods, but when they lose, we'll be reaching for the ice cream."

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