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Will drawing comfort food make us happy?

Posted Aug 21 2013 4:00am
beef jerkee

This is NOT a paid Jerkee’vertisement.

Reason number 132 Im a misfit.

My comfort food—if one defines comfort food as consumable stuffs which, when shoved in jerky pie-hole, make every fiber of your being shout OH YES!!—is salt.

Jerky, pistachios , soy sauced sushi, salted popcorn.

Salt, Salt Salt .

According to studies normal people’s comfort foodsand for the purpose of this post’s rambles—are ones high in fat & sugar.

In addition, according to individuals who spent time researching the obvious, consuming said comfort foods makes us happier & generally improves our moods.

chock full of OVERsalted goodness.

OVERsalted happyMAKING goodness

There is, however, a new twist on this and it intrigued me:

A report in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science recently suggested merely *drawing* pictures of unhealthy food can also have positive effects on mood.

Details of the study can be found here (translation: my description of the whole shebang grew far too verbose) but essentially heres the way it all went down:

  • Subjects were randomly assigned to four groups.
  • One group drew cupcakes (sugar/fat), another pizza (low sugar/fat), another strawberries (sugar/no fat), another peppers (low sugar/low fat)
  • Participants had not eaten prior & after drawing rated hunger, mood, and excitement (for both before/after drawing).

Drawing pizza improved participant’s mood by 28%, sketching cupcakes & strawberries elevated mood by 27%/22% (respectively). The pepper-drawers experienced mood improvement by only 1%. No significant differences in hunger between the groups.

Given the evidence above I immediately regretted not getting my PhD. Who knew markers & construction paper could comprise my dissertation?! researchers concluded:

Creating images of high-fat and sweet-tasting foods could be an effective way to enhance mood.

Creating and not eating.

And with the vast proliferation of sweet summer treats in the Tornado’s world—thank you play dates & camp stints—I was quite curious if merely drawing these confections might result in the same mood-elevation.

And so we drew (if by WE you mean HER—-which I do).

And learned, as per my misfit love of salt over sugar, we didn’t quite fit the study’s results.


this made us smile.

this made us smile.


this made us grin, too.

this made us grin, too.





After the Tornado sketched we talked, in an informal ‘researchy’ way, about how she felt before and after.

  • She said drawing the ice cream made her feel happier because it made her think of celebrating & about my birthday.
  • She said drawing the pepper made her happier because her daddy loves peppers.
  • She said drawing the pizza made her so happy because she loves pizza.

Obviously we do *not* fit the study results (ours pointed to the notion of to draw ANYTHING is to be happier than before you drew)—but that’s not a night-snacking , salt loving , weird foods eating , surprise for our house.

And you?

  • Had you seen this study? Did you find it intriguing?
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