Photo: naotakem (flickr)
Graduate students at the University of Buffalo have found that comfort foods like meatloaf, macaroni & cheese, and mashed potatoes actually have a psychological ability to make you less lonely.
Write What You Feel
Lead author Jordan Troisi had participants write for six minutes about a fight with someone close to them. After that, some participants were then given an emotionally neutral writing assignment, while others were asked to write about eating comfort food, and yet others were assigned to write about eating a new food. All participants completed questions about levels of loneliness. Findings show that those who wrote about comfort food were able to snap out of their lonely moods.
According to the results, comfort foods make people less lonely because those types of foods are more likely to be psychologically associated with someone close. So, thinking about or consuming these foods stirs up positive memories for them, and this combats loneliness.
“Throughout everyone’s daily lives they experience stress, often associated with our connections with others,” Troisi says. “Comfort food can serve as a ready-made, easy resource for remedying a sense of loneliness.”
The study, which will be published in Psychological Science, did not take into account the plethora of negative side effects that come with eating foods like meatloaf that are often high in calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol.