Friday, April 18, 2014

Bad Food Bad Mood

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

Pleasure vs Happiness

It's easy to mistake pleasure with happiness. They often overlap. But happiness and pleasure are two very different ideas. You can do something unpleasurable, let's say school, but ultimately you're happier for it. You can also do something, like eating lots of unhealthy foods, and though it brought you pleasure, ultimately it makes you very unhappy.

This is an important distinction as you begin to think about food. We crave certain foods because it brings us comfort, we associate it with being rewarded. Unfortunately for us, these comfort foods have become more and more processed. It use to be homemade pie (with minimal ingredients), now it's red velvet cupcake. It used to be mashed potatoes (made from real potatoes), now it's Doritos. It used to be steak, now it's vegan gluten free ice cream.

What research has shown is, when you do consume these unhealthy (processed) foods, it significantly increases negative mood. Few people crave raw vegetables for comfort, nor was it ever used as a form of reward for doing something good. So we don't associate it with comfort.

We tend to crave processed foods when we're in a bad mood and after the initial pleasure, our mood dramatically worsens than prior to the behavior.

The Vicious Cycle

The idea is "emotional eating" but this behavior doesn't seem to improve mood nor is it improving over-all health (including mental health). And when it makes our mood worse, it then creates a loop where we turn to food to bring us comfort again.

On a behavioral and biological level, it's taking happiness out of pleasure.

Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletterYou can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.

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