Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Dec

Study Spotlight: The Mood Diet

2792240151 562c7ec240Were 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?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Great post Mark ;-)

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

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on December 5th, 2008
  2. “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 go away once it hit my bloodstream.
    Isn’t it obvious that people had a sunnier disposition because upon looking at the sugary fare, they were transported back to childhood memories, and weren’t we all happier then?

    Wendy wrote on December 5th, 2008
  3. 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

    Son of Grok wrote on December 5th, 2008
  4. So that means the cartoon parrot really was going coo-coo for coco puffs? Most bogus.

    Bill & Ted wrote on December 5th, 2008
  5. did Dr. Quatschen ever thing that maybe the angry subjects got angrier because their mouths were on fire….

    Holly wrote on December 5th, 2008
  6. 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.

    Mark Sisson wrote on December 5th, 2008
  7. 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. “He just found evidence that smoking can offset Parkinson’s Disease”

    Mark, great article! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    All the Best,

    Andrew R

    Andrew R wrote on December 5th, 2008
  8. The lack of links gives it away. A truly gifted spoof should forge those too.

    Robert M. wrote on December 5th, 2008
  9. Ahhh, Robert. Good point. The spoof skills will need to be honed…

    Mark Sisson wrote on December 5th, 2008
  10. Honestly, you had me going at first Mark. About halfway down I caught on.

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on December 5th, 2008
  11. Agreed. Balloon smiley faces are creepy. That was the point of this post right? :)

    centaurIT wrote on December 5th, 2008
  12. “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!

    Brynith wrote on December 5th, 2008
  13. 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…..?

    emergefit wrote on December 5th, 2008
  14. jokes…I get jokes!

    Ed wrote on December 5th, 2008
  15. Oh, the sarcasm was golden. Soso funny. :)

    Amanda wrote on December 5th, 2008
  16. I think you should have called the Center of Emotive Merchandise the Center of Really Angry People (aka CRAP) :-)

    Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips wrote on December 7th, 2008
  17. 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 wrote on December 8th, 2008
  18. 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.

    Dr Dan wrote on December 8th, 2008

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