Women are binging on high-calorie food as a way to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic more than men, who are actually eating less, a new study has found.
The diets of 31 New Yorkers — 16 men and 15 women — were examined over 14 months before and during the coronavirus crisis, with researchers tracking what they ate on three random days.
The study, published this week in the journal Appetite, proved an existing theory — that women are more likely to stress-eat fatty and sugary foods compared to men and did so as a way to cope with the ongoing pandemic.
“These changes are likely due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, including stay-at-home orders, decreased job security, anxiety about exposure to the virus, and food shortages,” noted the study, conducted by Allan Geliebter, a psychologist and expert on food intake mechanisms in the Department of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Geliebter warned women to be more “mindful” about their calorie intake.
“It may be a good idea to avoid keeping high-calorie foods in the home, as much as possible, and to consider engaging in other stress-relieving activities such as exercise, yoga, mindfulness, or meditation,” he said in a statement.
The study is believed to be the first to analyze detailed dietary intake during the global pandemic.
The pool of participants was selected from an existing supermarket study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Additional reporting by Gabrielle Fonrouge