Main My story Recipes Tips Articles Interviews Photos Journal Links
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
(Swedish proverb)
Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.
(Sicilian proverb)
Your friend is that man who knows all about you, and still likes you.
(Elbert Hubbard)
You can always tell a real friend; when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job.
(Laurence J. Peter)
Friends are family you choose for yourself.

January February March April May June July August September October November December

8 November 2010
What is emotional eating? It can mean different things!

One, sometimes raw foodists incorrectly label emotional eating what is purely eating cooked when people are hungry due to undereating on fruit.

Two, sometimes raw foodists incorrectly label emotional eating what is an addiction to cooked foods. Research has indicated that junk foods are as addictive as hard drugs (see "Junkie food", by Bijal Trivedi in New Scientist, 4 September 2010).

Three, sometimes raw foodist eat to block out negative emotions. This is emotional eating indeed. The issue is deep and complex and I am not going to pretend that I can cover it here in depth.

"Studies show that the majority of men and women report stress eating."
(Nutritious Defenses to Stress Eating, D. Robinson and A. Ogawa, Journal of the American Dietetic Association
Volume 99, Issue 9, Supplement 1, September 1999, Page A43)

Emotions and drugs/foods are strongly related. Emotional eating occurs when the choice is to satisfy an emotional need in an unhealthy way that ignores the body's natural preferences (for fruit etc). For example, when a (hungry/or not) person goes for chocolate, they get stimulated, but not nourished. Their emotions may be affected by the experience, but health suffers. I think that foods can have a drug-like effect on the body.

"Another group of chemicals that can influence mood and appetite are the endorphins. These are the body's natural opiate-like chemicals that produce a positive mood state, decreased pain sensitivity, and reduced stress. Endorphins are released when a person is in pain, during starvation, and during exercise—resulting in what is known as a "runner's high." Researchers are now looking at ways to utilize this response to alleviate chronic pain. Studies have shown that acupuncture may relieve pain by stimulating the release of endorphins. A food substance related to endorphins is phenylethylamine, which is found in chocolate. Chocolate has always been a highly valued commodity in many cultures, and there is some evidence that chocolate may improve mood temporarily due to its high levels of sugar and fat, phenylethylamine, and caffeine. The sugar in chocolate is associated with a release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and the fat and phenylethylamine are associated with an endorphin release. This combination produces an effect that has been called "optimal brain happiness." The caffeine in chocolate adds a temporary stimulant effect."

Note that junk foods improves the mood only short-term, the long-term consequences are the opposite. Depression has been linked to junk/fatty foods:

"A recent study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry gives new meaning to the hackneyed expression: you are what you eat. A study conducted by British and French epidemiologists revealed a startling connection between junk food and depression. The study assessed the dietary patterns of 3,486 men and women using a ‘daily intake’ questionnaire to determine nutritional value, calculate portions and gauge frequency of meals. Five years later, the participants were asked to complete a new survey. This time the questionnaire was designed to assess depression. The results were tallied and adjusted to accommodate variables such as age and lifestyle factors (smoking, lack of exercise, etc.). The scientists discovered that participants who followed a healthier diet (daily servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains) had a significantly lower rate of depression than those who regularly snacked on junk foods (fried foods, foods high in refined sugars and carbohydrates, processed meats, high-fat dairy products, and carbonated beverages)."

One of the factors linked to emotional eating is stress. The studies suggest that an important evolutionary mechanism in which more food is eaten, more nutrients are stored, and less energy is expended by an organism during times of stress. (

"Stress can bring on increased levels of cortisol, known as "the stress hormone." Cortisol has a beneficial function in the body, but excessive levels of cortisol brought on by chronic stress can cause a slew of problems in the body. Among other things, high levels of cortisol can create cravings for salty and sweet foods. In previous centuries, this enabled people to bulk up on foods that would sustain them during times when food is scarce; however, in modern times and industrialized nations, when food is rarely scarce, this previously adaptive mechanism causes excess weight gain."

A great way to a long-term better mood is including plenty of fruit in your diet, but just eating fruit won't do the trick as great mental health is a function of more than one variable. Exercise and rest are crucial factors too.

17 November, 2010
My response to a post at GiveItToMeRaw forum, linking to an on-line article at Discovery News, which quotes researchers suggesting that "The enamel microstructure of A. anamensis indicates that their teeth were not well equipped to cope with acid erosion, but were well adapted to masticate an abrasive and hard diet." and concluding that "Unlike chimpanzees, which are fruit specialists, the hominid couldn't have been much of a fruit-lover":

I cannot emphasize enough that Internet articles can be a poor source of information if one is interested in the most recent findings as well as in the complete scope of the research. Also, I would like to caution against taking researcher's opinions as proofs. Note that in the empirical sciences, there usually exist a number of different hypotheses/theories.

In this case, instead of referring to an on-line article dated 2009, I would like to refer you to the most recent papers published in October 2010, see quotes below.

Summarizing what the quotes say in plain words, Australopithecus original diet is believed to be soft, sugary fruit of the forest. Some researchers hypothesized that this has evolved to a diet dominated by more brittle foods but most recent finding show that there is no evidence for that.

"Many researchers have suggested that Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis were among the earliest hominins to have diets that included hard, brittle items. Here we examine dental microwear textures of these hominins for evidence of this.(...) This implies that these Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis individuals did not have diets dominated by hard, brittle foods shortly before their deaths. (...) Australopithecus anamensis and Au. afarensis have traditionally been argued to be the earliest hominins to show an adaptive shift from diets dominated by soft, sugary forest fruits to hard and brittle or abrasive foods (...) Dental microwear texture analysis results suggest that neither the Au. anamensis nor the Au. afarensis individuals included in this study had diets dominated by hard, brittle foods in the days, weeks or perhaps even months prior to their deaths. While these species have been suggested to show an adaptive shift from diets dominated by soft forest fruits to hard, brittle foods (...), none of the specimens examined exhibit the high microwear surface texture complexity expected of a hard-object feeder. (...) We propose that Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis may have indeed consumed tough foods, but that their anisotropy values are low (...)"
Title: Molar microwear textures and the diets of Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis
Author(s): Ungar PS (Ungar, Peter S.), Scott RS (Scott, Robert S.), Grine FE (Grine, Frederick E.), Teaford MF (Teaford, Mark F.)
Source: PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Volume: 365 Issue: 1556 Pages: 3345-3354 Published: OCT 27 2010

"This increase in occlusal area would have resulted in larger chewing surface, which could be linked to an increase in trophic capability in using a wide variety of resources (...), ranging from soft fruits and leaves to harder and brittle fallback foods (...)."
Title: Phylogeny of early Australopithecus: new fossil evidence from the Woranso-Mille (central Afar, Ethiopia)
Author: Yohannes Haile-Selassie
Source: PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES Volume: 365 Issue: 1556 Pages: 3323-3331 Published: OCT 27 2010

Copyright © Dr Gosia O'Reilly. All Rights Reserved.
Acknowledgements: Maura (logo).
Quotes on raw foods by fellow raw foodists.
Other quotes from The Quote Garden.
Photos: Geek Philosopher