The Psychological Complexities Of Feeling Guilty About What We Eat

Shirley Amy
April 3, 2019
food issues

“People who feel guilty about their eating habits are more likely to be struggling with a number of other psychological issues

This is the interesting conclusion that has been drawn from new research involving 3,177 participants, conducted by So, let’s take a look as to what is behind it.

Extreme Food Guilt

While it could be said that a large number of us would simply brush aside an indulgent weekend as just good fun, and a momentary lapse in our regular diet. – When it comes to individuals who suffer from extreme food guilt, the story is very different. The fact of the matter is that it is regarded by this small minority as a disaster and wrongful action which must be dealt with through serious self-reproach, and self-inflicted penalization. PsychTests’ research uncovered a number of patterns. Individuals: “who experience food guilt are also more likely to be dealing with a number of other issues, including unhealthy eating habits, severe weight loss methods, and a lack of protective psychological traits”.

The Results

This is a basic run down of the analysis of the results of over 3,000 people who participated in the Diet & Weight Loss Test. It involved researchers investigating the participants’ personalities, their deviations in behavior, and who did and didn’t suffer food.  (The scores on the different elements shown below, can encompass 0 to 100), and comprise the two groups: The Food Guilt (FG) group and the No Guilt (NG) group.

Scores For Emotional or Mental Health Issues

Binge Eating Disorder

  • FG group: 70
  • NG group: 27

Emotional Eating

  • FG group: 60
  • NG group: 30

Inclination to Engage in Deep Contemplation

  • FG group: 73
  • NG group: 41

Inclination to Handle Stress by Ignoring It/Refusing to Confront the Issue

  • FG group: 61
  • NG group: 35

Inclination to Handle Stress by Isolation Instead of Requesting Help

  • FG group: 66
  • NG group: 43

Deficiency of Protective Personality Traits


  • FG group: 39
  • NG group: 79

Sense of Self-Efficacy

  • FG group: 58
  • NG group: 71

Emotional Control

  • FG group: 45
  • NG group: 68


  • FG group: 41
  • NG group: 61

Positive Mindset

  • FG group: 58
  • NG group: 73

Proactive Outlook

  • FG group: 53
  • NG group: 64

Believes Health Can be Ameliorated by a Positive Lifestyle

  • FG group: 65
  • NG group: 74

Having a Negative Relationship With What We Eat

The president of PsychTests, Dr. Jerabek, stated that: “Food guilt, like feeling ashamed about what or how much you eat, engaging in self-deprecation when you over-indulge, and categorizing food as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is harmful, both physically and psychologically”. The research indicates that if we have a negative relationship with what we eat, then this can result in serious, and possibly dangerous compensatory behavior. Anyone who is having weight problems needs to regard what they eat as nourishment, and the gateway to greater health. – They must realize that it is certainly not the ‘enemy’.  So, instead of regarding food as bad, we have to realize that we do not always make good food choices. This dilemma can be easily remedied by reading an easy to understand, interesting book on healthy eating. And remember that if we do over-indulge, then we should accept it, and maintain a positive mindset so that we are more mindful and do better next time.

Shirley Amy

Shirley Amy is a Holistic Health Specialist and professional writer who's published 4 books. Her  interests include optimum wellness, mental health, fitness, and positive lifestyle change. She holds University and College qualifications in the fields of Health Science, Nutrition, Mental Health, Fitness, Holistic Therapy and Aromatherapy.

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