Why we overeat
One reason we overeat, scientists say, is the fear of death. This makes perfect sense to me; I see no reason why they wasted any more time trying to prove it. But to test the hypothesis, researchers asked subjects to write essays on a visit to the dentist or death. Afterward they were offered a plate of cookies.
Not surprisingly those who had spent time thinking and writing about death ate more cookies than they should have, while those who had written about their dentist didn't.
Rosellina Ferraro, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Maryland, College Park, called overeating a "possible mechanism for dealing with death-related anxiety."
But this is my favorite part of the story, which was published in New Scientist: ...
In his latest, still unpublished study, [researcher Dirk] Smeesters found that people with low self-esteem shop and eat more after watching death-related news clips.
"One would hope that companies do not exploit this by putting food ads straight after the news," Smeesters says.
Gee, I'm sure that would never happen. That's why there's someone in marketing rather than behavioral science commenting on the research.
(Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune/MCT)