Having comfort foods like chocolate or ice cream to lift bad mood a myth

Written by PTI | New York | Updated: May 26 2014, 20:10pm hrs
Ice creamScientists have found the idea that eating certain foods like ice cream makes us feel better when we are in a bad mood may be a myth. (Thinkstock)
Do you often rush for comfort foods such as chocolate or ice cream in order to boost your mood

Scientists have found the idea that eating certain foods makes us feel better when we are in a bad mood may be a myth.

On the other hand, people may simply feel better after some time has passed, regardless of what they eat, according to a new study.

Researchers asked study participants to pick foods that they thought would make them feel better if they were in a bad mood, such as chocolate, cookies or ice cream.

They were also asked to choose foods that they liked, but that they did not think would boost their mood, 'Live Science' reported.

Participants then watched a 20-minute video intended to elicit feelings of sadness, anger and fear. They rated their mood immediately after the video, and three minutes later.

In those three minutes, they were served either their comfort food, a food they liked, a granola bar, or no food at all.

As expected, participants were in a bad mood immediately after watching the video. Three minutes later, their mood improved, regardless of whether they had their comfort food, another food, or no food at all.

"We were incredibility surprised by those results," said researcher Heather Scherschel Wagner, a doctorate candidate at the University of Minnesota.

Before the study was conducted, the researchers believed that there was something to eating comfort food, said Wagner.

"Whether it's your comfort food, or it's a granola bar, or if you eat nothing at all, you will eventually feel better. Basically, comfort food can't speed up that healing process," Wagner said.