We love a movie that gives us a good cry, and apparently so do our stomachs. Newly published research out of Cornell University shows that people eat significantly more while watching dramatic sob stories than they do during comedies. To gather the information, researchers actually went dumpster diving at movie theaters around the country. They pulled popcorn buckets from the trash and counted how much went uneaten. After controlling for things like bucket size, the team found that people at sad movies ate 55 percent more than people who viewed funny ones. According to the study’s co-author, Aner Tal, we really do eat our feelings: “Movies generate emotional eating, and people may compensate for sadness.”
It doesn’t have to be bad news for fans of drama and tragedy, though. Brian Wansink, head of Cornell’s Food and Brand lab, says that it’s not just snack food we gravitate toward during emotional movies: We will eat anything that’s in front of us. So if you’re looking to get some extra vegetables in your diet, just sit down in front Steel Magnolias with a Costco bag of baby carrots. They’ll be gone before you know it.
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