Some studies have found that when people are under stress, they eat moreso a group of psychologists set up an experiment to find out whether people still eat more after the stress ends.
What the researchers wanted to know: Does being exposed to stress make you eat more, even after the source of stress goes away?
What they did: Each subject sat in a room with intermittent bursts of loud noise or in silence and did math problems for 25 minutes. Then they were presented with a tray of snacks and, 13 minutes later, two puzzles to solvebut one of the puzzles was unsolvable. Participants who gave up quickly on the unsolvable puzzle were judged to be more frustrated than those who kept trying. The participants thought they were in a study of the effects of noise and performance.
What they found: The noise stress itself didn't have any effect on how much people ate. The researchers did see a link between how frustrated the subjects were by the puzzle and how much they atebut only in women.
Caveats: Since the study wasn't designed to look at how frustration affected eating (researchers were studying how stress affects eating) but found an association between the two afterward, you should take the conclusion with a grain of salt. Or a bowl of salty snacks.
What this study means to you: This kind of work could give insight into gender differences in reacting to stress‑and also into how people react even after the source of the stress is gone.
Find out more: The research was carried out at the Biobehavioral Health Studies Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University (http://bbh.hhdev.psu.edu/labs/bbhsl/).
Read the article: Klein, L. et al. Gender Differences in Biobehavioral Aftereffects of Stress on Eating, Frustration, and Cardiovascular Responses. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. 2004, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 538562.