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Comfort foods may not comfort you, study says

By Amanda Taylor | Posted - Jun 10th, 2014 @ 9:51pm

SALT LAKE CITY — There are times when reaching for a Twinkie or a spoonful of Rocky Road seems like the only way to feel better. But new research suggests that won’t help matters much.

Heather Scherschel Wagner of the University of Minnesota conducted a study that indicates time heals all wounds — and your snack cakes have nothing to do with it.

The study, according to the Huffington Post, asked participants to choose two foods — one that they thought would change their mood, and one that they liked but didn’t think had the mysterious healing qualities of their favorite comfort foods. They then watched a video designed to create negative emotions and were fed their chosen foods afterward.

Their moods improved after three minutes regardless of what they ate.

"We were incredibly surprised by those results,” Wagner told the Huffington Post. “Whether it's your comfort food or it’s a granola bar, or if you eat nothing at all, you will eventually feel better. Basically, comfort food can't speed up that healing process.”

Wagner noted that since so many people have convinced themselves there are treats that cheer them up, they can develop unhealthy habits in times of stress.

“However, the study was conducted in a lab setting, so the findings may not hold true for the variety of stressors that people experience in the real world, such as stressors that occur over a long period of time,” the Huffington Post said. “The researchers plan to conduct another study to see if comfort foods help people with social stress, such as the stress of feeling socially excluded.”

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