Nutrition: in a bad mood, you eat more – Naturopathy naturopathy specialist portal

Negative emotions cause stronger appetite

Who has not resorted to the solace of a chocolate or a Cup full of ice cream? The cliché of the Frustfraßes is some Truth according to a recent study, it. Especially in the case of Stress and grief, many people tend to eat beyond the point of saturation and beyond.

Food has many functions – the most important thing is to ensure the Survival. In addition, many people are eating, but also for emotional reasons. Just the people who often eat for pleasure, comfort or Stress, have an increased risk of Overeating, as a research team in the renowned scientific journal “Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience” shows.

Emotional and restrictive eaters

“Even at a healthy BMI and emotional Overeating can be a Problem,” says Co-author of the Study Rebecca Schnepper from the University of Salzburg in Austria. The study examined the extent to which individual’s habits and emotional States, the appetite response to predict. Emotional eaters were compared, so people who use food to regulate emotions, with restrictive eaters, so people can control their diet better.

Negative emotions had a big impact on appetite

The group of emotional eater found the food very enjoyable when they felt negative emotions. In a neutral state of mind you have to be eating less and less importance. Restrictive eaters are not, however, have shown to eat in the negative condition more attentive, although this is influenced by your appetite. In this group there was no significant relationship between the appetite and the feeling-state.

Important for the treatment of eating disorders

The results point to possible strategies for the treatment of eating disorders. “In the attempt to improve the eating habits, seems to be a focus on emotion regulation strategies that do not rely on food as a remedy for negative emotions to be promising,” stressed Schnepper.

Theories so far are contradictory

The scientists saw as a result of the lack of consensus in the literature is forced to examine the issue in more detail. To do this, the researchers conducted a study with 80 students at the University of Salzburg. All of the participants had an average Body Mass Index (BMI). During the laboratory were read aloud sessions, the subjects of the texts, which should produce either a neutral or a negative state of mind. The negative texts in relation to recent events in the personal life of the participants, in which they experienced challenging emotions, while the neutral scripts on topics such as brushing your teeth-related.

Then the subjects were shown pictures of food and neutral objects. The researchers recorded the facial expressions of the participants by means of electromyography. In addition, the cerebral reactivity has been documented using electroencephalography (EEG).


The Participants in the study were all female, because women are more prone to eating disorders, explains the research team. “We can’t draw any conclusions for men or for a long-term eating behavior in daily life”, there Schnepper to bear in mind. Nevertheless, the study promotes the understanding of emotional Overeating, and the results could help in the early detection and treatment of eating disorders. (vb)

Authors and source of information

This Text meets the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines, as well as current studies and was examined by doctors and Medical scientists.