Have you ever had those days where you just feel worn down? Are there times where you don’t have the energy to do anything? Do you often just want to plop down on your favorite chair with a pint of ice cream? Most people have–and usually end up with an empty container in the end! If this is you–fear not! You are certainly not alone. There may be a biological reason that you’re not registering how much of your fatty treat you’ve eaten!
A recent scientific study found a significant link between people’s sensitivity to how fat tastes and their mood. Simply put, the fact that you’re feeling down may mean that you have lower sensitivity to high-fat foods. This means that you may be able to pack away more of those fatty treats without feeling any worse for wear–and that you may, without even thinking about it, end up eating more than you normally would! The study also found that people in a poor mood had a very hard time telling low-fat and high-fat foods apart, while people in a neutral mood had a much easier time!
To compound the issue, another recent study (among many) shows a significant link between an increased risk of depression and a high-fat diet. Specifically, having a diet high in trans-fats and saturated fats (those fats that are solid–like butter) was strongly linked to a greater risk of depression. Unsaturated fats (such as olive oil) were shown to have the opposite effect–a lower risk of depression.
See the viscous cycle that could develop there? Being stuck in a bad mood means you could overeat on high-fat foods–increasing your risk for depression–possibly leading to more overeating of high-fat foods! So what’s the solution here?
Know your facts!
Armed with this knowledge, you can break the cycle! Aim to stick to those low-fat and more nutritious choices when you’re feeling those “curl-up-on-the-couch blues.” Try some fresh vegetables, such as carrot sticks, sliced bell peppers, or cucumbers. Or, for something more sweet, try some Greek yogurt with fresh fruit! In doing so, you might just be helping yourself get out of your funk!
- Oral Perceptions of Fat and Taste Stimuli Are Modulated by Affect and Mood Induction
- Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Depression: The SUN Project