Heather Scherschel Wagner, Britt Ahlstrom, Joseph P. Redden, Zata Vickers, Traci Mann

This study sought to test if comfort foods really provide psychological benefits and improve moods. After completing an online questionnaire about their favorite comfort foods, participants participated in two lab studies, a week apart, where they ate their comfort food along with non-comfort or neutral foods. Psychological effects were measured. Researchers found that:

  • Participants did experience increased moods after eating their comfort food BUT this increase was found to be the same as when the participants ate a non-comfort or neutral food
  • Food provides the same mood benefits whether the person considers it their comfort food or not
  • People might believe that their comfort food provides mood benefits because they expect it to, when they would have experienced the benefit with any food