Do you frequently crave fatty foods? The food-mood connection could explain the reason.

A new study from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Chinese University of Hong Kong has found that this feeling could be associated with people feeling socially inferior.

Read: High-Fat Diet May Short-Circuit Circadian Rhythm, Disrupting Sleep Cycle And Causing Drowsiness

Researchers carried out four studies, which all revealed the same conclusions. The pair found that, across the board, feelings of social inferiority can make people to want to eat more food — especially food that has a lot of fat in it.

In all four studies, participants were asked to imagine themselves at different places on a social and economic ladder, Medical XPress reported.

The volunteers then filled out a questionnaire regarding their desire for food at a buffet and were asked to describe what types of food they craved. Additionally, in one study, volunteers attended an actual buffet and ate from an offering of foods.

Results revealed that those who were asked to imagine themselves at or near the bottom of the social ladder actually ate more when offered the real thing.

Read: 30 Foods With Healthy Fats, And How To Work Each Into A Balanced Diet

Currently, more than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese in the US. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese.

So, could the obesity epidemic actually be linked to mental health and income inequality?

Source: Cheon BK, Hong Y. Mere experience of low subjective socioeconomic status stimulates appetite and food intake. PNAS. 2016.

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