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Sad Movie + Food = Weight Gain?

April 12, 2015 2 min read

Have you ever noticed your eating habits when watching a movie? Do you usually get the big bag of popcorn at the movie theater and over indulge due to the subject matter of the film you are viewing? A study done by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab found that people who watch dramatic films eat more than those who watch comedies. Researchers tested subjects that watched “Love Story” a serious tearjerker and “Sweet Home Alabama” a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon. They found that 28% more popcorn was consumed while watching “Love Story” than when watching the comedy “Sweet Home Alabama.” This part of the study showed that watching a sad/dramatic movie increased popcorn consumption. In the second part of the study researchers analyzed the popcorn bags that were thrown away at the end of the film. They had participants view the somber film “Solaris” and the comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” They found less popcorn kernels in the trash after “Solaris” meaning more popcorn was consumed and found more popcorn in the trash after the comedy. This study shows us that we are eating more during sad, emotional movies. This reminded me of another story about watching comedic films, in the book The Secret, a story is told about a woman who was diagnosed with cancer and decided to only watch comedic movies that made her laugh. After a year of doing this she went back to the doctor and was cancer free. This is a true story that shows what kind of impact movies can have on our bodies and minds. Have you ever heard that “laughter is the best medicine,” turns out that statement is completely true. I sometimes like watching a sad movie or a really dark dramatic movie; does this mean I should stop watching those movies all together? Dr. Brian Wansink the lead author of the study said “Sad movies also lead people to eat more of any healthy food that’s in front of them; it’s a quick and mindless way of getting more fruits and veggies into your diet.” So we are in luck, you don’t have to forgo seeing serious or sad movies altogether. You can just make smarter choices when you go to see those films. For example you could bring a bag of veggies with you or cut up apple slices instead of buying a big bag of popcorn. It looks like comedic films are better for our psyche and for our waistline. Think about that next time you are choosing what movie to see and what food item should go along with it.

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