A Loyola University psychological scientist is hung up on the moods people get into because  of what they eat.


The researcher is now saying that people with a taste for organics are more likely to be insufferable. He earlier found that bitter food left people with more than a bitter taste in their mouths.

The new study by Kendall Eskine, assistant professor of the department of psychological science at Loyola University, says participants who ate organic goods judged people more harshly than did a control group or the research subjects who ate comfort foods.

The study, which depicts people with organic-food diets as being more judgmental and/or judgmental, is getting lots of media coverage around the country. Eskine, who says he routinely kicks participants out of his research projects, organized his latest subjects into three groups.

He exposed a “needy stranger” to each of the groups: a control group, a comfort-food group and an organic-food group. The comfort group helped out the needy stranger for 24 minutes, the control group for 19 minutes, and the organic group for just 13 minutes.

Eskine said the organic group felt they’d done what they could and did not need to help any more. He called this “moral licensing,” meaning these people put their judgmental thoughts above the needs of others.

The idea that organic food could negatively influence the moods of people consuming it is new. KEZT-TV took the idea to its Eugene, OR viewers, most of whom found the idea preposterous.  

Still, the study seems to suggest that the self-righteous are more likely to be stressed out about food. Low-fat cheese or free-trade coffee are foods with a “health halo,” meaning people tend to think of them as healthier or even safer, whether they are or not.

But such foods also leave their adherents with the notion that organic food and people who eat them are more superior, Eskine figures. One report on the study said people develop a “holier-than-than-thou” sense of superiority.

Eskine is a popular classroom professor at the New Orleans university. It is not clear from his research whether people who eat organic foods might be bad-tempered before they choose to eat organic food or if their foul moods are the result of it. 

“Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Morals” Organic Foods Reduce Prosocial Behavior and Harshens Moral Judgments” is freely available in abstract form, but the full version is kept behind a pay wall.

Thanks to Barfblog for bringing this article to our attention.