In an opinion piece published by the New York Times, dietician and author Christy Harrison says there’s no reason to worry about emotional eating at the holidays – or any time. In the piece she reviews the research and argues that emotional eating may not even be a valid scientific concept when separated from dieting mentality. She also reviews the evidence around sugar addiction – and finds it lacking:

Proponents of the “sugar addiction” theory often argue that highly processed food is engineered to achieve a perfect “bliss point” of sweetness that makes it supposedly irresistible to the reward centers in our brains. But research has actually shown that long-term dieters experience significantly greater activation of brain regions associated with food reward in response to sweet foods. Non-dieters’ brains seem to remain relatively unfazed by sugar.

This piece is adapted from her soon to be published book Anti-Diet.

Go Ahead. Eat Your Holiday Feelings | The New York Times