Comfort food is food that provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone, and may be characterized by its high caloric nature, high carbohydrate level, or simple preparation. The nostalgia may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture.
I pulled the above description of “comfort food” off the internet as this fairly succinctly sums up what is meant by “comfort food”. Many of our patients will often refer to this term when describing some recent struggles with following our dietary plan. When under stress/duress, often people turn to those types of foods that offset the stress by bringing back fond memories of the past. Examples of “comfort foods” include mac & cheese, cakes, cookies, pasta dishes and numerous other high caloric/high fat containing items.
Let’s flip the discussion to what accompanies being overweight/obese: Back, knee and hip pains, needing to take medications for co-morbidities, low energy levels, daytime drowsiness, poor self-esteem, worries about being a “Covid High Risk” person, etc etc. These sensations and more most certainly fall into the “UNcomfortable” category.
So, “comfort foods” bring us some sort of immediate comfort whereas the ramifications of eating these foods, cumulatively, bring us lots of prolonged DIScomfort. Therefore, rationally, we should all take a step back and realize that what we consider “comfort foods” are actually DIScomfort foods. If we take a few second delay in thinking this through, we may very well decide not to ingest those food sources.
As an aside before I end this entry, in college my friends and I once had a party where way too much Southern Comfort was consumed. This did NOT bring lots of “comfort” the next morning as to date, this was the worst hangover I ever had in my life!