back to article Chips make you chipper: Official

It's official: if you're feeling a bit down in the dumps, then filling your face with chips will cheer you up, according to boffins at Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences. The team, led by Dr Mike Green, showed 60 adults a short film on the aftermath of the Hiroshima atom bomb, which unsurprisingly induced " …


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  1. WhoIsThis?

    Just Chips?

    Is it just Chips that have this effect, or is it simply the calming effect of eating?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Science... it's finest...

    1. LawLessLessLaw

      it's == it is

      its is possessive

  3. ilikejam
    Thumb Up


    Time for a Smoked Sausage Supper, methinks.

    And a can of Vimto. Can't forget the can of vimto.

  4. Paul_Murphy

    >Half were then given chips, a

    What about the other half? were they given anything to balance the research?

    I can imagine not being too cheerful when, having watched a film about Hiroshima you then see half your fellow watchers being led out of the area and given food (even if it's chips) while you are left to starve.

    Equally I can see that as one of the feedees it might cheer you up a bit to be given food (even if it's only chips) rather than being one of the chip-less people still locked in the viewing cage.

    Sounds like fair research to me.


  5. Steve X

    Half were give chips

    But what happened to the other half, who were the control group? Did they get anything to eat? Tofu (would introduce mild disphoria, to say the least)? Chocolate? Or did they just see the first half stuffing their faces?

  6. Jacqui
    Thumb Down

    UK science === fake science

    Funding must be bad when they end up doing fake science like this.

    I mean show someone something horrible then give them some comfort food and what do you expect. They could have replaced with with chocolate, mince pies, ice cream or a ping pong table. Hell a quick game you enjoy would probably be more healthy and far better at actually making you feel good. They could have even replaced the chips with kittens, bunny wabbits or walking the dog!

    How any "health science" department can come out with this tosh (funded by the ministry of chips) and expect us to believe them is beyond me.

    UK Science died some years ago - its all part of the minitry of truth now.

    Anyone scientists that disagree end up with a smear campaign and out of a job or dead in a field.


    1. Red Bren

      A new comfort food?

      I don't think I'd be too happy if I was told to eat a ping pong table. Maybe that's what the control group were fed...

    2. FIGJAM
      IT Angle

      Spot On

      Paul, you are correct -: the study was chips versus nothing.

      So: Eating makes you happier than Not Eating.

      And taller - the average height of a North Korean is 6 inches shorter than the average South Korean (who isn't starving).

      I hope the Potato Council had to pay a very large amount to sponge off the university's good name (they do some good research, but obviously they were poor that budget cycle).

      Even so I am now seriously tempted to go down the road to my local for some extra crispy oil-soaked denatured vegetable tuber portions.....

  7. Anonymous Coward

    News just in...

    Research funded by the tobacco industry has revealed conclusively that cancer sticks don't cause cancer but do, in fact, cure all known forms of cancer. They also significantly improve your virility and make you an all round better human being. So smoke cancer sticks now!

    But seriously, research funded by people with an agenda is, of course, utterly pointless.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    Nostradamus and chips.

    "The firey dragon of the East with the sword shalt bring forth, .........mmmmm, nice chips, bit more vinegar......mmmmm. Lovely. Where was I? Ah, yes.....scattered showers with bright periods and a win on the lottery. That'll do."

  9. jonathan keith

    Science? Where?

    What were the control group given to eat? Raw fish guts?

  10. Sampler

    and where's the control group

    who were given gruel or sprouts or something else - which would evaluate whether it was the chips been given that lead to an improvement in mood or simply the fact they were given something?

    1. Roby

      Re: and where's the control group

      The other half were given a magazine to read. So it's not a very good control group, it seems a bit arbitrary.

      I would have liked to see the results with other foods... comfort foods, a meal, a cake etc. They would probably find that just eating in general that lifts the mood, and we know that chocolate has a mood-lifting effect.

      At the least, I don't see how they can draw a conclusion from this "experiment". Commissioned by the potato council says it all.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chips vs No food

    Although there's no information given I would expect they did the studies one by one, given this is psychology they probably did five people in each group and asked them to arbitrarily choose numbers from to describe their moods. The fact that people choose higher numbers after eating chips would then be taken as proof they are in better moods rather than feeling gluttonous and wanting everything bigger including their numbers.

  12. Fab

    Caviar, Oysters and Champagne

    I think that if you fed me with Caviar , Oysters and Champagne I would have aced it with my response.

    In fact , I wouldnt just be content, I would be positively happy.

    Repeat this a few times and in a "Clockwork Orange" kind of conditioning, you would find me associating nuking large cities with pleasure.

  13. John 62

    I loves me chips, but...

    I concur with the other commenters: this is not science. The number of uncontrolled variables is mind-boggling. I think I need some chips to cheer me up now. There's a fantastically unhealthy place just across the road from here!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Blame it on the carbs

      Potatoes are bang full of starchy carbohydrates .. I'm told that these carbs are converted with the help of insulin to serotonin which makes you feel less depressed. Unfortunately long-term exposure to fried t'atotes makes you fat and unhappy .. oh well.

  14. Alain Moran

    Successful experiment?

    Judging by the comments here it would seem that we are less susceptible to the worst end of junk science, that scientific method is important to us and we do not necessarily accept something just because a 'scientist said so' and are actively interested in the route that they took to arrive at their conclusions.

    Or is it only me that thinks we were just turned into lab-rats?

  15. Evil Graham

    We need a corollary

    Can it be proved that eating loads of salad makes you really fucking miserable?

    Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell would indicate empirically that this is true, but of course we don't know for sure without a proper scientific experiment.

  16. alyn

    Up your...

    Any reasonably pleasant food would be comforting. But give me a plateful of salad and I'd tell you where you can stick your cucumber. (Just don't expect me to eat it afterwards).

  17. Tim #3

    Piece of cake

    Excellent science indeed. Presumably this provides considerable evidence to justify the saying "fat and happy", which had previously baffled me somewhat as all the fat uns around here are miserable as fook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes but

      all we'll get is a coronary

  18. The Indomitable Gall


    Aside from the fact that they don't mention the control group (as others have commented), there is the problem of what "chips" means. Having never heard of this "Aston" place, I thought the prof was saying "crisps" in a funny accent.....

    1. alyn

      Nesar Birmingham

      Aston is near Birmingham (not Alabama) so yes they do speak funny.

  19. Seanmon

    Still failed to answer...

    ... Daddy or chips?

  20. heyrick Silver badge

    The research was commissioned by The Potato Council obviously it would say that. If it hadn't, it would have been quietly forgotten.

    Mine's the one with the tub of vanilla cookie dough Haagen-Dazs in the pocket.

  21. Hollerith 1

    So, the conclusion is...

    ... that comfort food brings comfort? That a hot, savoury treat is a treat? That being fed is nurturing?

    Can I get a science grant to prove that the sun rising in the morning makes the day seem brighter to us? Or to find out if getting a bonus makes people feel valued? Or that getting grant money for specious studies makes us feel bloody clever?

  22. Laie Techie

    Water Pipes Freeze in Winter

    Reminds me of the study years back which found that water pipes are more likely to freeze during winter than during summer.

  23. M Gale

    Mmm, chips.

    But can you overclock them?

  24. Ammaross Danan
    IT Angle


    So, were the "chips" in question a Pringles-style chip, or more the "fish and chips"-type food? Oven baked or fried?

    Can't possibly be IT-related, since I wouldn't want to get all that grease on my shiney keyboard...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tweezers to the rescue

      If you use tweezers (large ones are easier to use), there'll be no grease anywhere but in your mouth. Commonly used trick among board gamers around here (no silly, cardboard-on-a-table games, not that new-fangled rubbish on the telly or whatever). Each has one set for the board, another for the crisps.

  25. Ned Leprosy

    Stating the bleedin' obvious

    > "Quite what gives chips this magical power is uncertain. Green offered: “There are a number of possible nutritional and psychological mechanisms which could explain the mood changes after eating chips. It may be down to the biological effects of nutritional components on brain chemistry, or simply a pleasurable oro-stimulatory sensation, triggered by the way chips taste.”"

    I was musing over this, and thinking that the improvement in mood may be due to serotonin or tryptophan or blight or smeg or whatever it is that potatoes are made of, but then it came to me: "a pleasurable oro-stimulatory sensation, triggered by the way chips taste." And in those exact words, no less. Yes, you read it here first, apparently: people feel happier when they eat something tasty. As opposed to some execrable rubbish like salad.

    Of course chips were better in the olden days, when they were cooked in dripping and served in newspaper and you'd just done a 26 hour shift down pit etc.

  26. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    what kind of chips?

    I'm quite fond of plantain chips, apple chips and even jack fruit chips just to name a few. Now then, just be clear, are we talking of chips, fries or crisps and on which side of the Atlantic? Ah, forget it and pass the bacon!

  27. Misoriented

    Right category?

    This was listed under "Science". Maybe we need a new category called "Science?".

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ammaross Danan et al.

    In Birmingham (and the rest of the UK) a chip is a piece of potato about half an inch by half an inch by the length of the potato, deep fried until gorgeous.

    What lesser gastronomic nations call a potato chip we call a crisp.

    A vaguely chip based product which is a few mm by a few mm by a couple of inches (like we get in McDonalds) is a french fry.

    Any full size chip-like product made from something other than a potato always has the vegetable specified - sweet potato chip, parsnip-chip etc. Assuming you would find anyone perverted enough to do that sort of thing that is.

    A chip designed to go in the oven is either an oven chip or just plain wrong, depending on your viewpoint.

    I hope that clears things up a little.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Simple mechanism

    It's like bubble wrap - it's the sound of something delicate breaking beyond repair that sets your mind at ease. There, solved.

    Mine's the lab coat with the Hammer of Happiness in the pocket.

  30. Michael Dunn


    Just how does one measure a 10% to 13% increase in calmness?

    There's a textbook on PseudoStatistics in the pocket, I could certainly use a Grant (A brand of Whisky, as in the New Yorker cartoon from 1965?)

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