Results: Comfort foods led to significant improvements in mood, but no more than other foods or no food. Conclusions: Although people believe that comfort foods provide them with mood benefits, comfort foods do not provide comfort beyond that of other foods (or no food). These results are likely not due to a floor effect because participants’ moods did not return to baseline levels. Individuals may be giving comfort food "credit" for mood effects that would have occurred even in the absence of the comfort food.I think the scientists just don't understand the concept of comfort as being a reminder of home, or friendship, or love. Silly scientists!
The biggest comfort holiday of all--Thanksgiving--is next week. I'm sure there will be many foods served that day that people will think of comfort foods--and not because they measurably change one's mood! Despite what the NPR piece had to say about comfort foods and their un-healthiness, people will continue to eat them.
For folks who really should avoid comfort foods for various reasons, we have these titles:
DiSpirito, Rocco. Now Eat This! 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All under 350 Calories. [3M ebook]
Gordon, Elizabeth. The Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs. [641.5631 GOR]
Hagman, Bette. The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods: More than 200 Recipes for Creating Old Favorites With New Flours. [641.563 HAG]