A study released last week might convince you to ditch the chocolate and replace emotional eating with emotional drinking, of water that is.
Water can be just as good of a pain reliever as chocolate, according to a University of Chicago study released last week.
Acknowledging that animals often eat instead of react to moderate pain, “Analgesia Accompanying Food Consumption Requires Ingestion of Hedonic Foods” examines if comfort food must also be high calorie in content.
Researchers studied ingestion analgesia — eating that causes an absence of pain recognition without losing consciousness — in rats. Rats were exposed to a heated floor that caused a negative sensation in their paws. They were then given either chocolate, sweetened water or regular water.
Results showed that all three effectively numbed the aching, proving that ingestion, not sugar, is the real painkiller, according to Peggy Mason, one of the study’s authors and a Professor of neurobiology at the University.
“This really shows it has nothing to do with calories,” Mason told E! Science News last Tuesday. “Water has no calories, saccharine has no sugar, but both have the same effect as a chocolate chip. It’s really shocking.”
Whether they were eating or drinking to cope with stress the rats paused less often and for shorter duration as a result of subconscious responses controlled by the brainstem. This painkilling effect is also present in humans, Mason said.
And since humans have more readily available food sources than animals, this type of eating, whether it’s due to emotion or how tasty the food is, can contribute to obesity. Overweight individuals are already vulnerable to over-eating during negative emotional moments, according to a 2003 study.
By replacing eating binges with drinking more water, people can relieve pain without compromising their health.
Source: Chicago Press Release
Read more about the study on e! Science News.