Fatty foods really are mood enhancers

July 27, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier, Medical Xpress report

A new study published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows just why it is that people tend to turn to fatty foods in order to boost their emotional state and reduce feelings of sadness. Be it chocolate chip cookies, French fries and a chocolate shake or whatever your favorite fatty food may be, researchers say these fatty foods create a biological change in your body to reduce the feelings of sadness.

The researchers, led by psychiatrist Dr. Lukas Van Oudenhove from the University of Leuven, recruited 12 healthy and non-obese participants for this study. The participants were shown images of people with sad expressions while listening to one minute clips of sad classical music selections. The participants were hooked up to fMRI scans to monitor .

The participants were then hooked up to a feeding tube. Half of the group was fed dodecanoic acid, the fatty acid found in and Twinkies while the other half of the participants received a saline liquid.

During the 40 minute testing period, participants were asked at four different times to rate their levels of hunger, fullness and mood. The results showed that those who received the fatty acid through the feeding tube reported feeling about half as sad as those who had received the placebo but there was no difference in hunger of fullness.

The fMRI scans also confirmed these findings. The participants who received the fatty acid solution showed dampened activity in the areas of the brain that are connected to emotions and feelings of sadness.

The researchers explain that emotions affect the hunger signals that the stomach sends to the brain and it plays a direct role in what and how much someone chooses to eat.

Researchers hope this study and their findings will help to bring new insight into health and emotional disorders such as obesity, emotional overeating, eating disorders and depression.

More information: J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI46380

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5 / 5 (4) Jul 27, 2011
Yes, it's called the Endocannabinoid system. It is triggered to produce naturally occurring cannabinoids within the human body. One way of dealing with this issue would be to allow the useage of cannabis by humans. This would not only save the lives of people by reducing the amount of fat needed to gain the effect of overeating fatty foods, but would also help the immune system, regulate the digestive system, help reduce tumorms, and stave off alzheimers disease.
5 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2011
Your indeed correct about legalization of cannabis. I just have to add that by regulating appetite and digestive system it would also help patients suffering from AIDS. Patients with other disorders easily treated with cannabis like insomnia, GAD and depression are not that important, scientific data isn't everything, treating people is immoral!! Stupid people..
not rated yet Jul 27, 2011
Therefore, the rate of obesity of a country can be used to measure the degree of sadness felt by its population.
not rated yet Jul 27, 2011
Be sure to add cheese to the fatty foods - to get that whole casomorphin cycle (body-produced opiate-like substances) going. Party!
5 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2011
"The participants were then hooked up to a feeding tube. Half of the group was fed dodecanoic acid, the fatty acid found in breast milk and Twinkies while the other half of the participants received a saline liquid."

I'll take my breast milk from a breast, and I'll just be happy.
not rated yet Jul 27, 2011
Therefore, the rate of obesity of a country can be used to measure the degree of sadness felt by its population.

You hit that on the head, but did the researchers compare effects between consuming healthy vs. unhealthy fats?
not rated yet Jul 28, 2011
The link goes to as copy of the full article--not just "more information".
not rated yet Jul 31, 2011
I eat to forget that I'm sad I'm fat. Or maybe I just have the munchies.
not rated yet Aug 01, 2011
The way this article associates cookies and french fries with "fat" instead of possible healthy fat is irresponsible. It takes a study and tries to change the message to mean that doing an unhealthy thing makes you happy, so to be healthy, you must be sad.

The anti-fat propaganda has gone too far. This isn't science. It's the Middle Ages all over again. Amazing.

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