Are you among the one who craves for ice-cream and sweets when stressed and wondered why it would happen? A recent study has all your answers.
According to researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia, post emotional events such as breakup ice-cream binge is, in reality, a scientific phenomenon.
"When you're sad you tend to go for overconsumption-hedonic consumption - as therapy. Be it ice cream or a luxury handbag, there are always emotions attached," said Nitika Garg, an associate professor at UNSW.
"The influence of emotion is subtle - you don't know it's driving you in a systematic fashion, but you have motivations arising out of the emotional experience that influence your choices and behavior," said Garg.
According to the researchers, one of the mechanisms to curbing hedonic consumption is making people cognizant of the behavior by providing nutritional information.
"But the problem is, it doesn't take care of the emotion, you just have to find an alternate outlet," Garg said.
On the flip side, experiencing happiness actually curbs the consumption of unhealthy food products.
"Happiness is shown to increase the consumption of products people believe to be healthy," Garg said.
For the study, researchers offered both M&Ms (a chocolate candy) and sultanas (a type of sweet dried grape) to happy and sad people.
"Happy people don't eat M&Ms, but they do eat sultanas a lot more," Garg said.
"Some research suggests hedonic consumption does not help because it could lead to a vicious cycle of eating unhealthily and its associated guilt factors," Garg said.
Emotional consumption is usually food because it is effortlessly accessible and available to most people. Other outlets like smoking or gambling tend to have a history with the individual.
"People go for what seems easiest to them in terms of familiarity and in terms of accessibility for hedonic consumption," she said.