Munching Through Life’s Travails

The Huffington Post:

The world is divided into Munchers and Skippers.

I’m a Skipper, which means that, when living gets stressful, I stop eating. I don’t snack. I skip meals.

Munchers, on the other hand, invented comfort food. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Chunky Monkey or Doritos or cheeseburgers. Calories are taken like a tonic against life’s mishaps.

Traditionally, Munchers have been viewed as more pathetic than Skippers — and more of a problem. Feeding on calorie-dense foods shows lack of self-discipline, and leads to unhealthy weight gain. And given our high-stress modern lives, it’s likely that anxious munching is contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic. Compared to maladjusted Munchers, Skippers are seen as lucky.

But is this really a complete picture of stress and eating? Psychological scientist Gudrun Sproesser and her colleagues at the University of Konstanz, Germany, suspected that this view might be too simplistic. Isn’t it possible, Sproesser speculated, that both Munchers and Skippers compensate for their stress reactions by eating differently when things are going well? In this sense, isn’t it also possible that Skippers are not as lucky as they appear at first? From this perspective, Skippers might not turn to comfort food when they are tense, but they could make up for it with a different kind of overeating when they are at ease or joyful.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology.

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