A new study suggests that breakup may not always lead to weight gain. Researchers analyzed the German concept of “kummerspeck,” which translates to “grief bacon” and means excess fat gained due to emotional eating.
Previous research associated breakups with increased stress and emotional changes. People with these negative feelings are more likely to eat more and pick unhealthy food to cope with heartbreak, Futurity reported.
For the latest study, published in the Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, researchers gathered 581 people to answer an online survey about their past relationship, breakup and whether they gained or lost weight within a year of a relationship ended.
Results showed that 62.7 percent of the participants did not experience any weight change. The researchers then asked another 261 new participants to take a more extensive survey that focused on their long-term relationship and weight.
Researchers also looked at the participants’ attitudes toward their ex-partner, who initiated the breakup, their level of commitment, emotional eating and how much they enjoy food in general. The findings support the team’s initial discovery.
Majority of the new participants reported a breakup but 65.13 percent did not experience changes in weight after a long and serious relationship ended.
“We were surprised that in both studies, which included large community samples, we found no evidence of kummerspeck,” Marissa Harrison, associate professor of psychology at Penn State Harrisburg, said in a press release. “The only thing we found was in the second study, women who already had a proclivity for emotional eating did gain weight after a relationship breakup. But it wasn’t common.”
She added modern men and women now experience less stress and emotional changes due to wider access to resources and the availability of jobs, which could divert their attention. There are other areas the people could put their focus on instead of food.
But Harrison noted the study may help guide healthcare providers in developing a new approach to people suffering from emotional eating.
“It could be helpful information for clinicians or counselors with patients who tend to eat emotionally,” Harrison said. “If your client is going through a breakup and already engages in emotional eating, this may be a time where they need some extra support.”
Source: medical daily