Nokyoung Xayasane
March 18, 2013

Beware: Eating Crappy Food Can Make You Super Moody


Crappy first dates and cookie-dough ice cream go hand in hand. So does failing your calculus midterm and eating a block of cheese. And let’s not forget fights with your best friend being paired with a whole bag of salt and vinegar chips.

Eating junk food makes us feel better. Or so we think. It turns out chowing down on junk food can make us feel even worse, according to researchers at Penn State University.

The recent study found eating junk food is linked with bad moods. The study involved 131 college-age women who were given small handheld computers. They were prompted throughout their days to answer questions on their mood and to record what they were eating.

It turns out eating a whole cake because you ran into your ex-boyfriend won’t help you feel better.

“There was little in the way of mood changes right before the unhealthy eating behaviors,” said Kristin Heron, research associate at Penn State’s Survey Research Center. “However, negative mood was significantly higher after these behaviors.”

The study, which was presented at the American Psychosomatic Society on March 15, is the first of its kind to look at moods and eating behaviors in real time. Researchers hope it’ll provide a better picture of the relationship between emotions and eating.

The recent study is in line with other mood and food research, which shows the negative impact junk food has on participants’ sense of well-being. People who eat junk food or fast food are 51 percent more likely to be depressed, according to a 2012 study in the journal of Public Health Nutrition. Also, people with signs of depression ate more chocolate than people who were not depressed, says researcher and professor Beatrice Golomb in a 2010 study.

So maybe the next time your boyfriend “forgets” to text you back or your best friend bails on Friday night plans, don’t grab the butter tarts for comfort. It’ll just make things worse.