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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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December 05, 2008

Study Spotlight: The Mood Diet

By Worker Bee
24 Comments

Were you angered by traffic this morning or awakened abruptly? Have you been feeling blue with the onset of winter or charged by the vigor of the holiday season? Would you describe your mood lately as generally optimistic and happy? Or are you plagued by an enigmatic anxiety or erratic energy? Has depression been a problem for you? Do you find yourself easily annoyed or frustrated?

We were as surprised as anyone when we read the latest study following the seeming success of so-called “mood eating” and its physiological response. The research, a collaborative endeavor of the Institute of Nutrition and Physiological Function and the Center for Complementary Nutrition Therapy, followed 17 participants for 5 weeks. Dr. Stephen Quatschen, head of the study, says subjects experienced emotional release and corresponding physiological changes from particular foods. It seems Quatschen and his associates have identified varieties of foods that appear to temporarily counter or enhance several common emotional moods. Food characteristics such as texture, smell, shape and color strongly figured into subjects’ responses.

Angry subjects, for example, who were given highly spiced foods experienced elevated tension and hostility as indicated by self-report, expert observation and a number of biochemical markers. However, when these same subjects were offered soft, bland foods like jumbo marshmallows, mashed potatoes and grilled cheese sandwiches, they exhibited significantly less frustration and antagonism. Likewise, non-clinically depressed patients showed a negative reaction to the bland texture and colors of liver and onions and guacamole and to the laboriously crunchy texture of Grape Nuts cereal. However, they responded positively to the colorful and lightly stimulating texture of Knox blocks, Cheetos, and Trix cereal. And Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes made participants feel “great”.

On the opposite end of subjects’ experience, those who described themselves as cheerful showed emotional and physiological indications of increased happiness from the bold colors and flavors of clementines and cheese ball spread as well as to warm and flaky food items like Toaster Strudel. In Quatschen’s words, “We’re finding that food can actually serve as an effective antidote to unpleasant moods and a boost to positive mental states. It gives a whole new meaning to the old adage ‘You are what you eat.’”

But could marshmallows really be the answer to our society’s road rage problem?
Dr. Quatschen resists such dramatic assumptions, saying further study is needed to support and clarify his team’s findings. Nonetheless, he believes the research opens up a new avenue for conversation among nutritionists and those in the mental health field. “I think the associations our study revealed are strong enough for a new conversation to begin surrounding the emotional dimension of diet. Subjects in our study showed clear food preferences that resulted in temporary visible reprieve from negative emotional symptoms. We have the opportunity to work with the food industry to fully explore the potential of this self-treatment option.” He went on to add, “the key to effective weight loss could be choosing foods based on how you feel in the moment.”

Dr. Quatschen’s team plans to share their research with a number of medical, business and community organizations in the next year. They will publish their findings in the upcoming issue of Nutrition, Culture and Physiology. The journal is sponsored by a consortium of leading bioengineering and supermarket firms in the U.S. The team’s study was funded by the American Council of Food Processing.

(To take full advantage of these surprising new findings, don’t underestimate the importance of proper emotional assessment. Do you need help correctly identifying your mood for the day? Now you can accurately determine your emotional state with the help of the latest technology available for a limited time from an affiliate company, the Center for Emotive Merchandise. This state-of-the-art device gauges pertinent biomarkers such as body temperature to give you a scientific analysis of your emotional mood. Just place the ring device on your finger, and observe the change in our revolutionary mood stone’s color. Results are available in a matter of seconds. It’s an attractive way to follow your latest emotional aura and make the best diet choices based on your current vibe. Order yours for the incredibly low price of $19.99.)

Interested in more cutting edge diet research? Check out the truly sensational studies and story behind the latest bombshell to hit the nutrition world: the Hair Colour Diet. Thanks to reader Methuselah for his excellent reporting on this dramatic new development. Also, check out Methuselah’s coverage on how a high-carb, grain-based diet could be the secret to longevity. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on these and other incredible nutritional studies.

Are you shaken by this new revelation? Does the world suddenly make more sense to you? Are you mysteriously drawn to an appropriate mood food as we speak? We want to hear your thoughts on the mood diet movement and other ground-breaking diet trends!

CUTCLEAN Photography Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Homeopathy: Can’t We Please, As a Society, Let This One Go?

Glyconutrients: A Sweet Scam

Top 10 True Old Wives’ Tales

Dear Mark: Metabolic Typing

What’s Wrong with the Zone Diet?

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24 Comments on "Study Spotlight: The Mood Diet"

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Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later

Great post Mark 😉

I’m off to buy a big bag of marshmallows for Mrs M…!

Wendy
Wendy
7 years 9 months ago
“non-clinically depressed patients showed a negative reaction to the bland texture and colors of liver and onions and guacamole and to the laboriously crunchy texture of Grape Nuts cereal. However, they responded positively to the colorful and lightly stimulating texture of Knox blocks, Cheetos, and Trix cereal. And Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes made participants feel “great””. Excuse my perhaps inappropriate language, but no shit. I am going to have a happier disposition to Trix than a plate of less than appetizing organ meat. But, I’d still eat the liver anyway b/c the “temporary” repreive of the visually appealing Trix would soon… Read more »
Son of Grok
7 years 9 months ago

Breaking news. In light of his newfound success, Dr. Quatschen has legally change his name to Dr. Quack. The school where he recieved his MD could not however update his name on his MD certificate as their online branch based in Nigeria is no longer in operation.

The SoG

Bill & Ted
Bill & Ted
7 years 9 months ago

So that means the cartoon parrot really was going coo-coo for coco puffs? Most bogus.

Holly
Holly
7 years 9 months ago

did Dr. Quatschen ever thing that maybe the angry subjects got angrier because their mouths were on fire….

Mark Sisson
7 years 9 months ago

I’m glad you’re all getting it. There was a little worry when constructing this post that those who just skimmed the content would think I was serious (!).

By the way, Quatschen is German for talking non-sense.

Andrew R
7 years 9 months ago
Hey Mark, I felt like I stepped into the twilight zone for a few minutes… wow, these people need to be given a time out, and then some direction. I can’t believe that someone is actually paying this guy a doctor’s salary to do this stuff!! It made me feel great in one sense… I’ve got a BS in Political Science with absolutely zero medical training and I officially know more about health and nutrition then this moron. This guy reminds me of the doctor who works for the ‘Academy of Tobacco Studies’ in the movie THANK YOU FOR SMOKING.… Read more »
Robert M.
Robert M.
7 years 9 months ago

The lack of links gives it away. A truly gifted spoof should forge those too.

Mark Sisson
7 years 9 months ago

Ahhh, Robert. Good point. The spoof skills will need to be honed…

Son of Grok
7 years 9 months ago

Honestly, you had me going at first Mark. About halfway down I caught on.

The SoG

centaurIT
7 years 9 months ago

Agreed. Balloon smiley faces are creepy. That was the point of this post right? 🙂

Brynith
7 years 9 months ago

“This state-of-the-art device gauges pertinent biomarkers such as body temperature to give you a scientific analysis of your emotional mood.”

I wish you’d put the link to the corresponding website up here, it sounds like amazing technology- imagine if it was invented years ago!

Great post- hilarious!

emergefit
7 years 9 months ago

There is a reason why I ALWAYS read the coments first. Had I not, I likely would have gone into a major depression, and subsequently hit the Grilled Cheese Emporium down the street from where I live — in a very large way. Doesn’t anyone wait till April 1 anymore…..?

Ed
Ed
7 years 9 months ago

jokes…I get jokes!

Amanda
7 years 9 months ago

Oh, the sarcasm was golden. Soso funny. 🙂

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips
7 years 9 months ago

I think you should have called the Center of Emotive Merchandise the Center of Really Angry People (aka CRAP) 🙂

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[…] Mark’s Daily Apple did a post on an absurd new diet called The Mood Diet. […]

Dr Dan
7 years 9 months ago

I think that that is one of the most addictive things about food, and perhaps junk food, is that it really can alter your mood. Thus, people can begin to rely on it like a drug. I look back to before I went on paleo and I certainly can see many similarities to it been somewhat of an addiction. What do you think?

Dr Dan
7 years 9 months ago

Sorry, and now I have given up on carbs and other processed foods I just dont feel as ‘addicted’ anymore. I eat when Im hungry and thats it.

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[…] you like this stuff, just go subscribe to his blog :P), hidden sodium bombs, the “mood diet,” big shrimp (ha!) in South Carolina, Stephen King does diet (from Mark), genetics are still […]

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[…] The connection between food and your mood is clear, but this truth is largely unknown by most of the American public. If you’ve got an extra minute, check out this interesting post from Mark’s Daily Apple on “The Mood Diet.” […]

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[…] The tie in between food as well as your mood is transparent, though this law is mostly different by many of a American open . If you’ve got an additional notation, check out this engaging post from Mark’s Daily Apple upon “The Mood Diet.” […]

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[…] Study Spotlight: The Mood Diet […]

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[…] Are you in the mood for food? The Los Angeles Times challenges conventional wisdom by explaining if and how your mood is actually affected by certain foods. Then read my entirely-legitimate-and-not-even-slightly-satirical interpretation of “The Mood Diet”. […]

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