Laugh Away the Fat? Therapeutic Humor in the Control of Stress-induced Emotional Eating

Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2014 Jan 21;5(1):e0007. doi: 10.5041/RMMJ.10141. eCollection 2014 Jan.


This review explores the potential overlap between the fields of nutrition and therapeutic humor, together with the role of humor as a possible tool for aiding those in whom emotions, particularly negative ones, trigger eating as a means to improve mood. We review emotional eating, obesity, and the hypothesized mechanisms of emotional eating. We then review the field of therapeutic humor and its ability to de-stress individuals, possibly through endorphin and opioid systems, both of which are also involved in eating behavior. Finally, we present a novel hypothesis that people may be trained to use humor as a "food substitute" at best, or to blunt hunger stimuli, to achieve similar advantages, without the side effect of weight gain.

Keywords: Emotional eating; humor; obesity; sociotype; stress.