It’s easier to cut calories when you understand why junk food can be so tempting. One reason is that stress intensifies the taste of sweet and salty foods, a study from Turkey shows. After people completed a set of mental tests, those who were stressed had decreased taste thresholds—meaning their sense of taste was heightened. This may make eating under stress more pleasurable, says study author Esin Ileri-Gurel MD. Of course, this can make food taste so good that you can’t resist gorging. So ask yourself: Am I hungry, or is this appealing because I’m stressed?
Photography by Levi Brown
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