Stress Eating May Not Even Be A Real Thing


Just writing the title to this post has me ordering the greasiest pizza I can find.

If stress eating isn't real then what, pray tell, may I blame most of my calorie intake on? Certainly not my lack of self control! (It is my lack of self control -- any size of pizza is a personal pizza if you believe in yourself.)


Back in 2014, a study found that stress eating isn't fun. To which I say, you must be doing it wrong because have you heard of junk food? It's delightful.

But now science is taking away stress eating from me completely.

A study published in the journal Biological Psychology says that stress eating isn't even real.


According to the study, stress actually cuts down on people's intake of food.

The study involved 59 volunteers filling out a questionnaire to see how they fit into three different categories of eating style.

They were either the restrained eater, a person who monitors what they eat and may restrict what they eat to manage their weight; an external eater, who eats due to "food cues" like seeing it or smelling it; or an emotional eater, who eats in response to both positive or negative emotions.

Basically there's food in my mouth all the time so where's my category?

Following this questionnaire, for 10 days the volunteers used an app five times a day to document their emotional state, stress level and what they had eaten.

They also would mention if it was their meal or a snack, if they ate because they were hungry or if they just wanted to taste the food and if time constraints played a factor.

The results? Stress wasn't a motivator. In fact, the more stressed people were the less likely they would "taste-eat" -- they'd only be motivated by actual hunger.

Stress didn't even make the volunteers hungrier -- "hunger-eating" was not influenced by any emotion.

However, positive emotions did make people more likely to eat more, even when they weren't hungry.

So, if you're looking to lose weight maybe just be sad?

Citations: NY Mag (NY Mag)