There’s A Legit Reason We Crave Comfort Food In Winter

3 min read

Gimme all the mac n cheese please. 

We would happily eat comfort foods like mac n cheese and toasties all year round, but we would especially devour them in winter. 

There’s something about cold weather that makes us crave foods that taste like a warm hug. And nothing is more like a hug than a big steaming bowl of soup with a giant piece (entire loaf) of garlic bread. 

Apparently we’re not insane- there’s multiple legitimate scientific explanations to why we crave comfort food in winter. 

1. The gut ‘speaks’ to the brain and the brain ‘speaks’ to our gut

Our stomachs are responsible for the production of the ‘happiness chemicals’ dopamine and serotonin. 

These chemicals are also produced by exposure to sunlight and exercise. Because both of these decline in winter (who the hell wants to workout in the cold?) our overall happiness level also goes down. 

So the colder and darker the weather, the more we want something to make us feel good. 

sad feelings GIF by truTV’s Those Who Can’t

Eating comfort foods does just that. Warm, yummy foods that we enjoy send a rush of happiness from the gut to our brain and instantly make us feel better. 

Foods that are high in carbs (BREAD), especially sugar (CHOCOLATE), have the biggest impact on our mood. These types of foods release glucose straight to our brain which gives us an instant feeling of happiness when we are feeling cold, sad, tired or bored.

2. Evolution 

Before microwaves and refrigerators and supermarkets were around, our caveman ancestors had to eat foods that would sustain them for longer periods of time, especially in winter.

I.e. Food that is rich in carbohydrates and sugar. 

Although we definitely aren’t living in caves anymore, our food cravings in winter may still be programmed to our biology. 

bill nye GIF

3. Old habits die hard 

You know how if you eat something a lot as a child you’re more likely to hate it as an adult? Well turns out that’s not always the case. 

In context of food cravings, we’re more likely to eat as adults whatever we were given as children in winter. 

Your mind has positively linked the food and your childhood, which is also part of the reason you crave the same foods as an adult. 

Comfort food = happiness childhood memory = desire to recreate. 

So if your mum cooked you pancakes on a cold day, chances are you’ll feel like some cheesy pasta the next time it’s miserable outside. 

nom nom eating GIF by PBS KIDS

Suddenly, we want a blanket, Netflix and the biggest bowl of two minute noodles there is. 

Images: Getty, Giphy / Giphy. 


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