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© 2017 The Authors Everyone has heard of comfort foods, but what exactly are they, and what influence, if any, do they actually have over our mood? In this review, I summarize the literature on this important topic, highlighting the role that comfort foods play in alleviating loneliness by priming positive thoughts of previous social interactions, at least amongst those who are securely attached. The evidence concerning individual differences in the kinds of food that are likely to constitute comfort food for different sections of the population is also highlighted. Intriguingly, while most people believe that comfort foods elevate their mood, robust empirical findings in support of such claims are somewhat harder to come by. Such results have led to some influential headlines suggesting that the very notion of comfort food is nothing more than a myth. While this may be overstating matters somewhat, it is clear that many uncertainties still surround if, when, and for whom, the consumption of comfort food really does provide some sort of psychological benefit. This represents something of a challenge for all those marketers out there waiting to associate their products with the appealing notion of comfort food.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science

Publication Date





105 - 109