Eat sweets, be sweet



Du bist was du isst has recently taken on a whole new meaning. Adopted by organic food enthusiasts for years, “you are what you eat” as a slogan reflects consuming wholesome products and avoiding pesticides and poisons.

Now, new research into mood and disposition has found a link between those who prefer sweets and who are sweet.

The hypothesis : Does liking sweet foods coincide with being an agreeable and helpful person?

The findings: A qualified yes.

The research results, published in the Journal of Personality Social Psychology, only examined the preference for sweets. Perhaps future studies will test for bitterness, spiciness and sour.

Five different studies involving over 500 participants came up with these conclusions. One test involved matching personality with taste preferences. People believed if someone likes sweet foods, they were probably “agreeable”. Two tests found that participants who admitted having a sweet tooth were more likely to show “prosocial personalities, prosocial intentions, and prosocial behaviours.” Simply put, they were nice. The other tests had participants eat something (either chocolate, a salty cracker or Altoids) and then evaluated their reactions. Subjects that ate a piece of chocolate were more likely to volunteer to help someone in need. Those that ate crackers or no food weren’t as good Samaritans.

Nice to know. If you’re planning on asking someone for a favour, be sure to offer a Kiss or two first.

Eating sweets, especially chocolate, causes the brain to release endorphins, chemicals that make us feel good. So if you’re happier, you’re probably nicer. However, the researchers specifically stated that the studies did control for mood. Brian Meiers, a psychology professor at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, co-author of the study, explained “Our taste studies controlled for positive mood so the effects we found are not due to the happy or rewarding feeling one may have after eating a sweet food.”

As someone who enjoys sweets, this type of research is fun to read. Then again, it might be wise to take these findings with a grain of salt. Some sugar addicts I know, are real sourpusses.

Categories: Dessert for supper


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