The Science Behind Comfort Food

5:24 PM, Oct 11, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- When it's cold and rainy. When you're tired or sad you want it: comfort food.

In fact, a CNN Travel Survey showed Ice Cream was America's go-to when they're down. Nutella did it for Italians and Kartofeelpuffern (a deep fried potato pancake topped with bacon) was the food answer for those in distress in Germany.

2WTK the science behind it. Dr. Joseph Skelton, a pediatrician at Brenner Children's Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist explains.

"Not everyone's comfort food is the same.  The big connection between food and our mood tends to be memory and our memory from pasts experiences and foods."

According to Dr. Skelton, when foods are really salty, sweet or fatty, it tends to cue a reward in our brain.  A lot of these foods the chemicals get into our body and cues that reward.

"The sugar, salt, will cue that reward to a degree than other foods and it builds in this memory. So feeling a certain way gives us the memory and that reward and that cycle. The next time we feel tired or sad, it's built in and we will want to eat those foods again and it causes a certain reaction in our brain."

Dr. Skelton says if you really want to lift your mood and put more pep in your step, eat a balanced meal. He says the comfort food gives a short term high and then a low. The balanced meal will be more than a short term fix.




















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