We Turn to Habituated Eating Habits Under Stress

Contributor
Are you a healthy or an unhealthy stress-eater?

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

If you eat healthy foods normally, you’ll tend to eat them when stressed, too.

Under stress, some turn to unhealthy food while others choose healthier options. Whether you consume unhealthy or healthy food depends on your regular eating habits.

According to The Huffington Post, a study found that when people stress-eat, they tend to consume the foods they normally eat, either unhealthy or healthy.

In the study, 59 students who were pursuing MBAs at the University of California in Los Angeles were offered both healthy and unhealthy snacks during midterm exam time, often the most stressful time of a semester. The healthy snacks included foods like nuts, fruit, and whole-wheat crackers and the unhealthy snacks included foods like sugar cookies and candy bars.

After choosing a snack, students were asked how many times a week they regularly eat that snack. They tended to pick those snacks they would normally eat during a week.

"Habits don’t change in a high-pressure situation," says researcher David Neal, Ph.D., who is a psychologist and founding partner at Empirica Research, a research firm that focuses on consumer and social trends.

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