Science just said stress eating isn’t a thing and we have questions

Bad news to everyone who likes to excuse their late night ice cream purchases on “stress eating.”

According to a recent study, there is technically no such thing as stress eating.


Uh, come again? We’re seriously curious about these findings since we’ve all (on more than one occasion) reached for a little snack to satisfy our feelings.

According to this recent study published by Biological Psychology in ScienceDirect, hunger is actually the OPPOSITE reaction the body normally has to stress.

Their findings show that the body is more likely to react to stress by a loss in appetite, not an increase in it.

Again what?

Researchers tracked 59 participants over 10 days to see how their appetites were affected by stress. At five points in the day the participants would log their emotional state, stress level, and what they just ate into the app.


The study found that people who claimed to be stress eaters were actually more likely to eat because they were hungry over the other reasons. Also there was little correlation between stress and amount of food eaten.

And the weirdest finding of all, the people who claimed to be stress eaters actually ate less than the participants that hadn’t claimed to stress eat.

So of course, every scientific study has its caveats. This study didn’t have a control group, it was a small number of participants, and we don’t know who the participants were and if they were a diverse group of people. Like all things science-oriented, it’s going to take a lot more than one small study before something like this is “proven.”

But the scientists do note that even the small study like this is worth a little self reflection.

The study results say, "These findings emphasize the importance of individual differences for understanding eating behavior in daily life."

So we say, do what makes you feel best! And if that is stress eating, shine on you frazzled diamond!