Contact Us
07778 218009

Surprising New Research Reveals That Being HAPPY Makes You FAT


75% of people eat according to their moods, If you are an emotional eater, you're likely to eat more when you're happy


A study published last month found that if you are the kind of person who lets your mood affect your eating - that's about 75 per cent of us - you are likely to eat more calories when you are happy than when you are down.


In experiments carried out by psychologists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, 87 students were shown clips from films or TV shows in order to evoke a positive, neutral or bad mood.

To get them into a happy state, the students watched Mr Bean and When Harry Met Sally. To get them in a neutral mood, they were shown a fishing documentary. And for the negative mood, the students watched a clip from the film The Green Mile, when John, an innocent prisoner, is executed.

Straight after viewing the clips, they were offered crisps and chocolates, then researchers measured their calorie intake after each scene.

Students classed as emotional eaters by earlier psychological tests ate more after watching the happy clips than the negative one.

The researchers concluded: 'These findings could be of value for the treatment of obesity. They underline the importance of positive emotions on overeating, which are often overlooked.' Having a happy disposition and a positive frame of mind is valuable to overall health but not when it impacts with a BMI or hip to waist ratio that is within the unhealthy range then a reality check is much needed.  Stay happy but spare your health a thought and make any necessary adjustments.

This is a common pattern, says food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson. 'There are two very different mechanisms going on when we eat when we're happy and when we eat when we're sad,' she says.

'When we feel down or bored, we eat to bring about a change in our physiognomy. Food gives us a surge of sugar and feel-good serotonin, which can lift our mood temporarily.

'When we're relaxed and happy, we don't obsess about calories. We shrug off cultural ideas of what we should or shouldn't eat, what we should or shouldn't weigh, and we eat because it's  a great source of pleasure.'

In other words, being happy can make us ignore that voice in our head that says: 'You're not going to eat that, are you?' and helps us to live in the moment.

Psychologist Linda Papadopoulos adds: 'Think of any celebration, from birthdays and weddings, to a Friday night takeaway, and it involves eating. Enjoying food without measuring the calories or judging yourself is a healthy part of enjoying life.'

This 'living for the moment' theory is why most of us put on weight when we go on holiday and highlights the need to get back on track with healthy eating when the holiday period is over.

In conclusion: be aware that happiness can increase your BMI and Hip to Waist Ratio.  Make a conscious decision to adjust your eating to help you remain within the healthy range of both.

If you would like to find out more about our healthy eating programmes to help your business call 0845 533 5302.

Back to Index

Signup to get our latest blog updates emailed to you

The Grange
Welford Road
Long Marston
Stratford upon Avon
CV37 8RH

07778 218009

© 2019 The Healthy Employee

Web Development by Noisegate Media