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Male Students Prefer Spicy Foods: Study

Posted February. 23, 2007 06:49,   


When stressed, male students enjoy spicy tastes while girls prefer sweet tastes according to a study titled “Correlation research on college student stress, eating habits and food choices” released by the Department of Food and Nutrition at Inha University yesterday.

The research was done on 358 college students in 2006 and showed that 183 male students who were stressed chose mainly spicy tastes (37 percent) over sweet (24 percent) and sour (13 percent) tastes, while female students (170) preferred sweet tastes (55 percent) over hot (28 percent), sour (10 percent) and oily (9 percent) tastes when stressed.

Food and drink that male students ate when stressed included liquor (55 percent) and sweets such as chocolate and cake (21 percent), while females enjoyed sweets (55 percent) and Korean cake and bread (19 percent) the most.

Jang Kyung-ja, president of the College of Human Ecology of Inha University, said, “The research results showed that the more stressed people are, the higher calorie and sweeter foods people want and, accordingly, the fatter they become.”

Female students showed a pattern of eating more food than usual when stressed.

Eating habits that result from stress lead to nutrition imbalances. The research, which compared nutritive conditions of students who said they were stressed to Korea’s recommended dietary allowances showed that both men and women ate too much meat. Male students ate 117.8 percent of their protein reference intake (100 percent) and females ate 108.4 percent. Excessive protein intake results in obesity.

Meanwhile, in terms of calcium, male students ingested 67.9 percent and females ingested 62.1 percent, way below the reference limit. That originates not only from neglecting dairy products, but also from metabolic dysfunctions due to stress. In one research case, the calcium concentration in blood sera of those who complained of anxiety and psychological disorders was low.

Seong Min-jeong (25), a senior researcher at the Nutritional Biochemistry Lab at Inha University, said, “According to the research, most students who are under stress lack calcium in their blood. In female students studied, calcium and iron were below reference limits.”

Sweet foods, such as chocolate and soft drinks, which college students enjoy when stressed, are addictive and are hard to quit. They are the cause of various adult diseases such as obesity. Experts warn that getting fat leads to decreased immunity and leads to increased susceptibility to developing infectious diseases such as colds.

Ok Seon-myeong (43, St. Mary`s Hospital), a professor of Family Medicine at Catholic University, said, “It is hard to kick a habit of eating sweets when stressed which is formed during early adolescence, until late middle age. You should develop a habit of intentionally drinking water or eating vegetables when you want to eat sweets.”