Commentary: Our coronavirus diets and whats behind the urge to eat like kids

Commentary
Commentary

During these stressful times, if you find yourself reaching into the pantry of your past, you're probably not alone.

A cook prepares french fries from a fryer in the kitchen in Washington, DC, Feb 25, 2014. (Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb)


By
Carli Liguori

29 May 2020 04:52PM
(Updated: 29 May 2020 05:00PM)

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PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania: Have you noticed grabbing an extra bag of chips at the supermarket?

Or eating more frozen dinners than you used to? Or even eating snacks that you havent eaten since you were a little kid?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has upended nearly every facet of our daily lives, from how we dress, to how we work, to how we exercise.

Its also changing the way we eat.

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MORE PACKAGED FOOD

One recent survey by the International Food Information Foundation found that 42 per cent of respondents indicated theyre purchasing more packaged food than they typically would and less fresh food.

Sales of frozen pizza have almost doubled. Sales of frozen appetisers and snacks are over a third, while ice cream sales have increased 36 per cent.

According to Uber Eats, the most common food delivery order in the United States has been french fries, while the most popular beverage has been soda.

To me, these foods have one thing in common: Theyre the stuff we ate as kids.

A shopper walks by the soft drinks aisle at a grocery store. (File photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

Why might grown adults be reaching back into the pantry of their pasts? What is it about a pandemic that makes us feel like were teenagers at a sleepover?

The reasons are deeply rooted.

STRESS EATING

At its core, the purpose of food is to nourish. Of course food provides us with the necessary energy and balance of vitamins and minerals to power and fuel the body.

But anyone whos reached for a pint of Ben and Jerrys after a particularly stressful day will know that nourishment is about more than nutrition.

During periods of stress, people tend to eat more and show a greater preference for higher calorie foods. The sweeter and saltier the better.

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Regardless of hunger, a tasty snack can feel comforting. Theres evidence to suggest that highly palatable foods, especially those high in fat and sugar, may elicit a response in the brain that is similar to the response from opioids.

Yes, a delicious slice of rich chocolate cake can be just as good as drugs.

We tend to call many of these foods “comfort foods,” but the definition of comfort food is a bit slippery. Food is deeply personal.

The foods that comfort people depend on their cultural background, taste preference, and personal experience. We know, however, that food can induce feelings of nostalgia that transport us back to simpler times.

(Photo: Unsplash/Emiliano Vittoriosi)

SOME COMFORT

So perhaps its no surprise that, during a period of uncertaRead More – Source