Thursday, January 7, 2021

Eating When Stressed - Even Ice Cream - Does Not Help

Headshot of Dr. Traci Mann
Many may notice that when times begin to get stressful, they tend to reach for comfort foods like pizza or ice cream. In an AARP article titled, “Tame Your Stress Eating,” researchers have found that two-thirds of Americans have been eating more feel-good foods since the start of the pandemic. When facing long-term stress, cortisol levels stay elevated, triggering a craving for high fatty and sugary foods. Traci Mann, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, says that you never need an excuse to eat comfort food, but if you’re eating it to improve your mood, then you’re just as well off eating something like broccoli. This is because studies have shown that neither healthy or unhealthy food have any effect on stress recovery or mood. To help regulate your food cravings, try to keep a balanced diet and when cravings come evaluate your stress level to see if taking a walk rather than eating a bowl of chips may actually address your feelings of anxiety or stress.

Composed by Flora Pollack, communications assistant.