• Men choose pizza often as comfort food

The University of Illinois Food and Brand Lab recently conducted three studies aimed at finding Americans' favorite comfort foods. The results, as reported in the Christian Science Monitor, revealed that snack foods, such as chips and cookies, provided only limited comfort.

Those that ranked the highest were foods categorized as "homemade and natural."

For men, that included pizza and pasta, but for women, sweets, such as chocolates and cookies, reigned supreme.

To no one's surprise, the number-one choice for both sexes was ice cream. Additionally, both groups said soup was the one food that "makes you feel good about yourself."

Contrary to what some believe about the use of comfort foods as pick-me-ups, researchers found that people want them most when they're already happy (86 percent) or want to reward themselves (74 percent). Comfort foods are sought out only 52 percent of the time when Americans are feeling low.

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