Do our emotions influence food intake?

A recent meta-analysis published in Neuroscience and Behavioural Reviews investigated whether negative or positive emotions can lead to overeating.

A total of 56 studies with 3,670 participants examined the effects of emotions on eating behaviour. Subjects included in the study were divided into the following categories: healthy sample, eating disordered sample, overweight / obese sample, high or low restrained eating sample and high or low emotional eating sample.

Overall findings from the investigation included:

  • For most groups there were no significant effects of negative emotions on food intake.
  • Restrained eaters were the only group found to show increased food intake in response to negative emotions.
  • Positive emotions were found to have a small effect on eating behaviour. Those experiencing positive emotions showed increased food consumption.

The current meta-analysis only included studies that observed eating behaviours in a laboratory setting. Observing how emotions affect eating behaviours in the consumer’s natural environment and daily life may lead to a better understanding of the emotion-eating relationship.

For information on recommended food portion sizes take a look at our serving sizes page.

Posted: 13/06/2018 15:45:24 by Sarah Cassidy
Filed under: Emotions, ''Food, Intake', Overeating


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