According to Yolk!, If you’re feeling “hangry” (I.E. Hungry or Irritable) you may just need the right snack. Yolk! Is an app that suggests recipes based on the user’s mood. The App’s home page states “there’s a direct link between what you eat and how you feel. Food affects your metabolism (all the chemical reactions within your body), which in turn, influence your emotions, concentration, and energy levels. Improve your mood with a single bite of food!” But how exactly does the app work?
Essentially, Yolk! users upload a selfie which is then analyzed by AI technology. Yolk! claims that the AI can detect eight distinct emotions from facial expressions, such as sadness, anger and anxiety. Users can also tell the app how they are feeling by simply selecting an emotion. Based on the input the app receives, users will receive food recommendations with the goal of mood improvement. While this app sounds like it could potentially be a useful tool for those trying to monitor their mood through diet. It is important to understand the scientific basis for the link between food and mood.
In other words, just how strong is the link between diet and mood? According to Food&Nutrition, not getting enough essential vitamins and minerals “can cause depression, inability to concentrate and chronic fatigue. A diet lacking essential nutrients such as iron can disrupt brain chemistry and alter mood and behavior.” The verdict is out, food is imperative in monitoring one’s mood. While forgetting important nutrients obviously has a tremendous impact on our mood, what happens when we consume the wrong ingredients. According to Dr. Mercola “Artificial food ingredients, the artificial sweetener aspartame in particular, can wreak havoc with your brain function. Both depression and panic attacks are known potential side effects of aspartame consumption. Other additives, such as artificial colorings, are also known to impact mood.” Food&Nutrition also warns that “Not consuming enough calories can lead to problems, such as feeling foggy, tired and low energy.” There is quite a lot of research out there that proves the importance of our diet in relation to mood.
Obviously Yolk! suggestions should not be taken as “professional nutrition recommendations”. A professional dietician or doctor cant simply be replaced with a simple app. However, Yolk! does seem to point out and remind people just how important our daily diet is in relation to mood and even mental health. This is an important discussion to be had and Yolk! seems to be raising the issue in a fun way. So, what is the moral of the story? Paying close attention to our diet has implications far beyond our mere physical health. Our psychological health is quite intertwined. So always remember we are what we eat and moreover we feel how we eat.