Study: Fat, not flavor, boosts happiness

Science makes your guilty pleasure a little less guilty.

Having a rough day? Go ahead, reach for that pint of ice cream. Eat the whole thing. And blame science.

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has linked fatty foods to enhancing mood. And get this: flavor doesn’t matter. It’s just the “fattiness” that counts, apparently.

At the University of Leuven in Belgium, 12 non-obese people endured quite the day to get these findings. The published study says, “a gastric feeding tube was positioned with its tip in the stomach 60 cm from the incisors and fixed with adhesive tape to the subject’s face; this was tolerated well by all subjects.”

Then participants were given either a fatty-acid solution or a saline solution. The next step was sitting through “sad or neutral” music and images before the participants were asked how they were feeling. Those who were given the fatty-acid solution reportedly felt happier than those who had the saline solution.

The study says, “the difference in hunger ratings between the emotions was much smaller in fat compared with that in saline vehicle conditions, indicating that the effect of sad mood on hunger is attenuated by fatty acid.”

So don’t spend too much time debating which flavor of Ben & Jerry’s to get. Just pick one! In the name of science, just pick one!  


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