Eating excessive chocolate when sad can make you gain weight and have low self-esteem
A new study suggests that the instant gratification and the pleasure derived from consuming excessive chocolate and deep-fried foods can lead to a double-edged sword of negative consequences ranging from weight gain to feelings of low self-esteem.
According to the study, combating this type of self-destructive behavior may be achieved simply by making a person feel sad.
"We found that when people who are sad are exposed to pictures of indulgent food or indulgent words, their sadness highlights the negative consequences of indulging and encourages them to indulge less," authors Anthony Salerno, Juliano Laran (both University of Miami), and Chris Janiszewski (University of Florida), wrote.
Study results showed that when people were first exposed to pleasurable information and then made to feel sad, they decreased their consumption of indulgent foods.
The authors also found that these participants were more likely to indicate how consuming indulgent foods could lead to health problems. In contrast, when people were exposed to neutral information and made to feel sad, they increased their consumption of indulgent foods.
"Our research has important implications for consumers, particularly as obesity remains a major health concern in the United States. 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," the authors wrote.
The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
(Posted on 12-03-2014)