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Psychologist Explains Why Eating This Takeaway Makes Us 83% Happier

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We are all aware of the euphoria after we finish a delicious takeaway, and the positive effects it brings to our mood. But how much of an effect does it have, and which cuisine actually makes us the happiest?

By conducting a BMIS (Brief Mood Introspection Scale) test among more than 2,000 participants and analysing their emotional response to 11 different meals, Lieferando.at can now reveal all.


On average, Lieferando.at found that ordering any kind of meal increases happiness by 52%.

takeaway bmis

Indian cuisine improves overall happiness most by 83%. This cuisine was found to raise participants’ BMIS points from 142 before eating to 260 after (+118). Is it really any surprise when researchers at UCLA identified that the vibrant spices in foods like turmeric can boost your mood?

A popular and firm favourite is sushi, placing second, with a 73% increase in happiness! Participants reported a significant boost in positive emotions as the pre-eating BMIS score increased from 142 to 246.

Burgers feature in third place – tucking into this American-style meal makes us 70% happier than we were before, increasing participants’ BMIS score from 142 to a healthy 242 points (+100 points).

Fish and chips make us the least happy

At the bottom of the list, Lieferando.at found that fish and chips is the least impactful dish for happiness. It’s shown to make participants just 18% happier than they were before eating, only improving their original BMIS score of 142 by 26 points. Although the score is still impressive, the meal earned just 168 BMIS points – 92 less than the leading meal.

Whilst in the penultimate spot is Mexican food. As per the BMIS test, happiness levels increased by just 24%, earning 177 points.

Please refer to the table above for the top 11 foods analysed.

Why does food make us feel better? 

Curious to learn more about the relationship between food and happiness, Lieferando.at spoke exclusively to Lee Chambers, psychologist and well-being consultant.

‘From a psychological perspective, food alters our mood through several pathways. Firstly, the idea of comfort food is not a myth; we can use food as a coping mechanism when we are feeling stressed, anxious, or bored to anchor us in the present while enjoying it. Given the turbulence of 2020 and the limitations on some forms of entertainment, food has become even more powerful in being a tool of happiness and being an experience that is certain, the same every time.

‘When we look at the brain chemicals at play, our favourite meal can trigger dopamine release. Even just thinking about it can stimulate this, generating a craving that we can then satisfy. An elevated cortisol level can also induce a craving for foods that create a level of comfort, especially foods with higher levels of fat. Ghrelin and leptin, our hunger hormones, can also impact our emotions and drive our eating behaviours. When we are hungry, and our blood sugar is low, we find it harder to manage our emotional regulation and balance, and this can lead to moments of becoming hangry.’

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