Friday, April 20, 2012
Blues-Fighting Goodness Found In Donuts, Cheeseburgers, Cats Say
A University of Washington researcher is among four cats who argue that eating two to three donuts and/or cheeseburgers a day may slow or completely stop signs of depression, improve overall mood, and promote feelings of happiness.
They describe how the sugary, sweet goodness of a powdered sugar-coated, raspberry jelly-filled donut and the cheesy, moist, saltiness of a hot cheeseburger, eaten separate or together, may help control and even elevate mood in a paper published today in the journal Nature.
The cats came to their conclusion while eating donuts and cheeseburgers watching late night television. They found their moods highly elevated after each of them ate at least three to four servings of the items in no particular combination and began trying to determine if a correlation and/or causation was present.
“The cheeseburgers, they made us real happy,” said Chesty
"The assumption was that eating (the donuts and cheeseburgers) made us happy," explained Chesty, a 9-year-old Domestic Short Hair, he is the UW Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry who co-authored this paper.
While Chesty and his colleagues noted that the donuts and cheeseburgers seemed to work without error, it did not stop them from trying the experiment repeatedly with placebo foods such as corn dogs, baby back ribs, fried chicken, kung pao shrimp, hot waffles, ice cream sundaes, meatloaf, vegetarian egg rolls, kettle corn, pastrami sandwiches on rye bread, beef tacos, sausage biscuits with gravy, roast beef, fish and chips, spaghetti, moo-shu pork, Marshmallow Fluff, sweet potato pie, Boston baked beans, chicken vindaloo, guacamole, corn on the cob with butter, milkshakes, whole chocolate bars, lasagna, bacon, mayonaisse sandwiches, chocolate cherry cheesecake, Hot Pockets, peanut-butter-filled pretzels, Boston creme pie, smoked salmon, pancakes,Chicken Marsala, elephant ears, mega burritos, denver omlettes, turkey club sandwiches, hot meatball subs, garlic bread with dipping sauce, pulled pork tacos, chicken pad thai, red pepper-baked shrimp, garlic french fries, hot spun cotton candy, goat milk yogurt, peanut butter, Pop-Tarts, pizza, and apple fritters.
In fact, the altered pattern of holistic junk food consumption seemed to work even better and activated other sensations of pleasantness and satiety, which in turn triggered a variety of cellular processes that seemed to stimulate happiness. The food made them happy, they said.
Scientifically speaking, the cats believed the mood elevations occurred because the foods they chose were “yummy.”
Chesty and his colleagues draw on two important facts to support their conclusion.
"First, we need food to survive," explained Chesty. "Second, other cats have previously shown that eating tasty foods improves and enhances overall mood and disposition."
Chesty says he and his research partners will now work even harder find out exactly which other junk foods may help elevate mood and under what circumstances they should be eaten.
Sharyn Thoma Guay reporter-at-large
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