Bad News Fuels Calorie Craving

Could be that some aimagesncient instinct is telling us to store up calories for the cold dark days ahead. Could be we just like to eat rich food when we’re bummed out. Researchers at the University of Miami aren’t sure about either of those theories, but they are convinced that bad news makes us want more calories. A news release from the Association for Psychological Science reports that researchers invited study subjects to join in a taste test for a new kind of M&M. Half the participants were given a bowl of the new candy and were told that the secret ingredient was a new, high-calorie chocolate. The other half of the participants also received a bowl of M&Ms but were told the new chocolate was low-calorie. In fact, there was no difference in the M&Ms, and the sneaky researchers were actually measuring how much participants consumed after they were exposed to posters containing either neutral sentences or sentences related to struggle and adversity. Here’s what they found: Those who were subconsciously primed to think about struggle and adversity ate closer to 70 percent more of the “higher-calorie” candy vs. the “lower-calorie” option, while those primed with neutral words did not significantly differ in the amount of M&M’s consumed.

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