There’s No Comfort in Comfort Foods

Here’s yet another reason why “comfort food” never truly nourishes you. Have you ever reached for a boxed macaroni and cheese, doughnut or cookie in times of stress? We probably all have at one point or another and for good reason; these foods induce our neurotransmitters to signal our feel good hormones. We eat the particular food item, briefly feel better and then feel awful again shortly after. What seemed like a good idea initially turned out to have been a really bad one.

Posted on | Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD | Comments ()

Here’s yet another reason why “comfort food” never truly nourishes you. Have you ever reached for a boxed macaroni and cheese, doughnut or cookie in times of stress? We probably all have at one point or another and for good reason; these foods induce our neurotransmitters to signal our feel good hormones. We eat the particular food item, briefly feel better and then feel awful again shortly after. What seemed like a good idea initially turned out to have been a really bad one.

Now, Spanish researchers are shedding light on the harms of the comfort food fix. They found that when men and women volunteers consumed foods high in trans fats, they actually became more depressed. The lead author commented that the “adverse effects of trans fatty acids are thought to cause inflammation that interferes with neurotransmitters, like serotonin, important to mood regulation.” Perhaps you knew that trans fat, found in partially hydrogenated oils, increase our lousy LDL cholesterol and decrease our happy HDL cholesterol, but did you know that they also make you feel more stressed?

Next time you’re stressed, do some meditation, go for a run or call a friend. After all, the overall goal is to lift our spirits, not dampen further our mood!

Blog written by Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD
Kristin Kirkpatrick is a registered dietitian and Wellness Manager for Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 program. Kristin has...