People may crave “comfort food” less in changing times

By Tom Nordlie • Published: January 8th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

There’s a popular belief that people crave “comfort foods” when life is uncertain and they need a sense of security.

But is that really true?

Perhaps not, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Consumer Research.

The results showed that major life changes might actually make people more open to trying new foods.

And that has implications for anyone who’s trying to eat healthy.

The study involved five experiments that explored college students’ attitudes toward familiar and unfamiliar things, particularly foods.

In one experiment, participants were asked how much change was taking place in their lives.

They were also told some participants would receive a supply of snacks. They were asked if they’d prefer traditional American potato chips or British varieties with exotic flavors.

The participants reporting the greatest degree of change were most likely to select the British snacks.

In a similar experiment, students were asked questions where they had to choose between two options, such as where to eat dinner.

Again, the participants who reported the most change in their lives were more likely to pick unfamiliar options.

The researchers hypothesized that people dealing with change in one part of life will embrace other changes.

So, if you’re trying to eat better, it might be easier if you also start a new exercise regimen or sport.

And if you’re trying to STAY on a healthy diet, you may have to try harder when life throws its inevitable curveballs.

Either way, the key to success is to be persistent.

That’s one thing that will never change.