Both appetite and food preferences are altered across a range of mood states; preference for “junk food” and increased caloric intake is enhanced during negative moodstates whereas preference for healthier foods is increased during positive mood states. Numerous associations between mood states and emotional eating have been reported, and stress-associated eating is more common in those who are overweight or obese. Various psychological theories of emotional eating have been proposed, most of which conclude that emotional eating fails to produce any lasting benefit to psychological and mood states.
Eating behavior links the internal world of molecules and physiological processes with the external world of physical and cultural systems. The extent to which human eating patterns are a function of physiological or environmental pressure is not always clear. Understanding the pathways responsible for the neural control of feeding and how the integration of diverse signaling systems could be translated into the expression of behavior and the accompanying subjective feelings is deemed to be important for the development of behavioral strategies and pharmacological therapies that help in weight loss process.