There’s a reason we gorge on chocolate bars or French fries when we’re down: Fatty foods actually do make us feel better, a study suggests. Scientists in Belgium had subjects look at images of sad people and listen to sad music while being fed through a tube, the Daily Mail reports. Brain scans revealed that those who received a saline solution grew 4% more depressed, while those who got a fatty solution through the tube didn't experience changes in their mood.
The study points to a direct connection between the gut and the brain, and may be traced to a Stone Age need for fat to survive. “Evolution has provided us with an over-the-counter anti-sadness product,” says an expert. Though the experiment was done on people of average size, researchers hope to carry out similar research on overweight subjects to see if the effect is more pronounced. “Many things in obesity have been said to be psychological and this adds to the body of evidence that something physical is going on,” says a doctor. (Read more fatty food stories.)