Study links bad eating habits to bad moods

Do you turn to a chocolate bar when you’re stressed? Eat more than your fair share of a bag of Utz barbecue potato chips when you’ve had a bad day? Or do you down an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s as you watch “The Notebook” for the sixteenth time?

Turning to unhealthy eating habits is a common problem for many women when things take a turn for worse during the day, but a new study by Penn State researchers shows that those unhealthy behaviors may put you in an even worse mood.

The study gathered information from college-age participants during their daily activities. 131 women were given handheld computers and were prompted to answer questions several times a day about eating behaviors and mood.

While binge eating and other negative behaviors had little impact on people who were enjoying their day, researchers found that respondents who said they were in a bad mood and then partook in unhealthy behaviors noted a marked worsening in mood after eating.

 Researchers said the study will help to fill a hole in research. Prior studies had mostly focused on subjects with eating disorders, and little research had been done that could be applied to broader demographics.

 The results will help researchers to better understand the link between emotions and eating and could also be used to craft more effective treatment programs for people with eating and weight concerns.

Does binge eating make a bad day even worse for you? What do you do to avoid stress-eating?

About Hannah Sawyer

Multiplatform journalist/city reporter by day, avid sleeper by night. I go to the dog park so much that the regulars gave me a nickname -- Lois Lane. My weaknesses are Ben and Jerry's and snow.
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