Do Your Favorite Fatty Comfort Foods Have Mood Altering Abilities?

There has been a good bit of research that suggests that the fatty foods that we love actually do a whole lot more than just satisfy our cravings. These comfort foods may also have the ability to soothe the psyche, pretty much providing the real comfort that our soul needs.

A doctor by the name of Dr. Lukas Van Oudenhove stated that eating such fats seem to help cut the sad emotions that we can sometimes be faced with, even if we are unaware that we are even eating the fats. There are many different fatty foods that seem to cause both physical and emotional changes in a lot of test subjects.

Think about that time when you dove right into a pint of your favorite ice cream as you were dealing with a breakup. It is this same comforting feeling and emotional healing that people are looking for and often find with certain fatty foods. There are many questions as to whether or not this is something that is all in the mind or maybe connections to childhood memories and other comforts that the mind is used to. Could these actually be signals that make their way from the stomach or mouth to the brain?

Researchers have dedicated a lot of time looking into the ways in which tastes, smells and even the appearance of the food that we are presented with have an impact on our emotions. The newest studies are groundbreaking in the simple fact that they move past the normal sensory stimulation by taking the fatty acids and actually infusing them right into the stomach. This happens without the subjects knowing whether or not they are getting either saline or fats put into their stomachs.

For this particular study, the researchers enlisted the help of 12 subjects as volunteers who were non-obese. During the trial, they received either a saline solution or fatty acids through a feeding tube. With the help of a functional MRI, the researchers looked at the brain waves of each volunteer as they were then exposed to neutral and sad music as well as neutral and sad facial expressions.

Even though it may seem that the subjects would have already been a bit on the sad side because they were going through a medical research procedure, Dr. Ven Oudenhove noted that they were not particularly uncomfortable. The efforts that were put forth to induce the sadness, in the form of the images and the music, made it so that the mood of the volunteers went down by around 2.5 points out of a possible 10. However, the fatty acids were able to reduce this number by around one point.

While looking at the brain, the researchers also noted that the sadness that was induced brought on a change that was around 3-4%, which is notably quite a bit. However, the level of change actually went down to less than 1% after the subjects were given the dose of the fatty acids.

It is not completely clear if the other ingredients that are found in the food would have a similar effect. Dr. Van Oudenhove noted that there still needs to be more research conducted to find out whether or not the findings have the ability to show promise in obesity treatments or even depression or eating disorders. Overall, such studies are showing a lot of promise when it comes to helping people to curb some of their cravings for foods that are high in either fat and/or sugar or even looking at overeating whenever they are depressed or sad.