The allure of a steaming bowl of creamy soup on a crisp night or hug-like appeal of buttery spuds after a bad day has been blamed on memories linking certain foods to a sense of belonging in research reported in journal Appetite.

Compulsion to chow down on specific foods despite hunger was found to have strong links to feelings of rejection and isolation and memories of being comforted by a culinary bent caregiver (say, Nanna with her bubble ‘n’ squeak).

Identify the need for comfort and seek to meet in other ways, like: 

  • Phoning a friend. 

  • Write a list of valued connections and what you have in common

  • Attend a group class such as yoga or meditation

NEXT: find out how to Beat comfort eating and see 5 steps to changing your taste buds