There are just some foods that you want to eat after getting dumped. A pint (or two) of ice cream, a load of chocolate, a couple of jars of Nutella, and the phone number of your favorite take-out place. A balanced diet of chocolate, salt and dairy….errr, along with some other ingredients will help you get through this. As it turns out, science may be able to shed some light on why we eat certain foods when we break up.
Research suggests that it's not really the food that makes us feel better but the good feelings we associate with them. We're seeking that same feeling of belonging and love in times of isolation or sadness through a meal when we turn to comfort foods.
Plus, a grilled cheese is the closest thing to an edible hug — so there's that.
Salty and crunchy, please
I'm pretty sure chips taste good no matter what, but a big bag of crunchy and salty hits the spot after hearing "we're through." A study wanted to find out why salt is so good when you are sad.
For the study, a group of people was asked to write down a time when they had a pretty serious fight (mimicking feelings of isolation and frustration) before snacking on chips. This group thought the chips tasted way better than the control group who didn't visit memory lane. (The study gives the actual statistic results, but we all know "tasted way better" is very scholarly and official.) Our brain and mouth overestimate the taste when we are feeling isolated and sad.
Also, salty chips and snacks mimic the salty tears of your sadness, which is oddly poetic and comforting in your time of need.
….or cake, or chocolate chip cookies, or some slightly underbaked brownies. The science of chocolate is something well studied. It's something we crave, it's a comfort food, and it releases good feeling chemicals in our brain when we eat it. What's not to love? The taste, the way it melts in our mouth and the positive associations we have with chocolate make it something that tastes great when paired with heartbreak.
What science doesn't talk about is how amazing Nutella actually tastes, and you don't have to share when you are dealing with a breakup.
Ben & Jerry's
Really, any ice cream will do, but we'll stick with a classic cliché. According a study reported on by NPR, intense feelings (hmmm, maybe like your shattered heart?) can confuse your mind into not accurately tasting fat. Your sadness tricks your senses into not really noticing how much you are actually chowing down on, which explains the nearly empty ice cream container(s) in the freezer.
Science failed to mention that ice cream is like icy cold heart of your ex, but you can top "Chocolate Fudge Brownie" with whipped cream and sprinkles, which makes you the clear winner in this breakup.
Thanks for backing up the emotional eating that is pretty much a guarantee after a breakup. There's got to be some hefty research on why Netflix becomes your new significant other post breakup, but science or no science, now you don't even have to share the remote…and that's a huge plus.
Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.