What is the Link Between Comfort Food and Guilt?

September 18, 2020

What is the Link Between Comfort Food and Guilt?

comfort food and guilt

What is your favorite comfort food? Lasagna? That sounds good!

Cake, ice cream, gooey mac and cheese, chips? My stomach is rumbling! However, too often we overindulge or indulge in these delicious foods emotionally instead of out of hunger. That leads to eating too much comfort food and guilt.

Today, with all that’s happening in our world it would be easy to turn to comfort food. After watching the news, seeing your favorite baseball team with a fake crowd, or being kept away from an ill loved one.

Food is always there for us. It tastes good and gives you a certain feeling of satisfaction.

Moroever, food often serves as a friend.

All this is true and yet all of it is a false comfort.

What is True Comfort?

what is true comfort

I was studying 2 Corinthians 1:7 recently, which says, “so also you are sharers of our comfort.” 

Comfort comes from two Greek words: para – meaning alongside and kaleo – meaning to call.

To comfort a person is to come alongside them and answer his call. To walk alongside him and cheer him, guide him (or her) and on occasion defend him (or her).

The Greek word was used in the court to show legal counsel for the defense. One who would plead another’s case.

You probably see where I am going. Turning to food as comfort denies God the right to this place. It is a place He created in our heart so we would call out to Him.

Instead, let’s place God as our comfort: 

God is always there for us. God tastes good (tastes means experience). He never speaks mean words. The Lord is a true friend.

When God is our comfort, answering our call and walking alongside us, there’s no need to reach for food when we’re not hungry.

Food as Comfort Leads to Guilt

food as comfort leads to guilt


The second word that creates havoc in our body beyond eating too much comfort food…


Unfortunately, guilt is way too often served with your meal.

When we eat foods that cause harm to our body or we eat too much food, the answer is NOT guilt!

The answer is to pray for forgiveness and then walk away and determine not to sin again. Carrying guilt in your back pocket as if it is a battle scar is not the answer. 

Guilt keeps us focused on wrong. Forgiveness keeps us focused on how to live right!

It is also important to remember that guilt is a trap. Forgiveness is the escape!

Guilt is a victim. Forgiveness is the victory!

Forget the guilt. On the contrary, move on in the power of prayer and forgiveness. 

This is the only way to be set free from eating problems and health challenges from food.

Turning to comfort food and overeating are not restricted to physical matters, but they are also very spiritual and emotional matters.

Emotional Eating and Faith

The Bible says a surprising amount about food and eating. When I started digging into scripture I was amazed at the breadth and depth of food matters found in God’s Word.

He truly does give us instructions for every area of life!

As early as Genesis, we see God’s people focusing on food in unhealthy ways. The Israelites had seen God perform amazing miracles, but they grumbled about having enough to eat, then having to eat the same thing repetitively. 

Most of us don’t have to worry about having enough to eat, or even a lack of variety. No, on the contrary we have easy access to abundant amounts of food.

I talk about emotional eating and its causes in this video. Check it out to learn more about the #1 cause of emotional eating: 

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’0′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYHS_LOl6Ps&t=64s[/responsive_video]

However, our problems are similar: we tend to focus on food and the pleasure it gives us, instead of keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and our thoughts on food centered around nutrition.

The Lord doesn’t want us living in poor physical health due to malnutrition and overeating. And neither does He want us to live under guilt when we stumble and fall.

Physical Consequences of Living in Guilt

Guilt isn’t just a mindset. It impacts us physically as well. Holding onto regret and guilt can be as damaging to our bodies as eating unhealthy food.

God created our bodies to be interconnected with our thoughts, emotions, and spirit. 

What we do/eat affects our emotions and thoughts. Our thoughts impact our actions and emotions. What we believe influences our actions. These areas of who we are are inseparable.

So, it’s not surprising that we see the following negative consequences from people who carry guilt:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite or overeating
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Bowel disturbance/gastrointestinal upset
  • Muscle ache/pain
  • Headaches

(See here and here for more.)

Choose, no matter what you ate today or yesterday or last week, to throw off the weight of guilt! Don’t let it hold you down or hold you back.

How to Stop Emotional Eating

how to stop emotional eating

Comfort food is about assuaging our negative emotions with food. Because of the chemical reactions in our bodies, food, especially certain foods, give us positive emotional results.

However, that satisfaction or calming won’t last. Food can’t provide true and lasting comfort and peace. Only the Lord can.

He has given us everything we need to work through, heal, cope with, and deal with negative emotions. 

Eating because of emotions is not the answer.

There are many tools to stop emotional eating, but the most powerful is God’s Word. Scripture can also comfort us when we’re holding onto guilt and need help ridding ourselves of it.

Check out this video where I talk about emotional eating and how you can stop it. 

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’0′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f_RttnISNY&t=20s[/responsive_video]

So, we’ve already decided to not accept guilt for eating comfort food. Now, let’s replace food with God’s Truths. 

We can only change what we acknowledge and then what we equip ourselves to change! Here’s the equipping.

Read these verses. Write them out. Carry them with you. Meditate on them. Memorize them. Turn to God’s Word instead of food next time you have a comfort need. And next time you need help throwing off guilt.

Verses of Comfort

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Isaiah 26:3

O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear. Psalm 10:17

In my distress and anguish, your commandments comfort me. Psalm 119:143

Sing for joy, O heavens! And rejoice O earth! Break forth into joyful song, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion upon His afflicted. Isaiah 49:13

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; Because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed. Luke 4:18 (This verse quotes Isaiah 61:1, which says to “comfort” the brokenhearted)

But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me – and by the Comforter I mean the Holy Spirit – he will teach you much, as well as remind you of everything I myself have told you. John 14:26

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Eliminating Comfort Food Guilt

eliminating comfort food and guilt

Your health matters – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually!  Stay strong by:

  • Seeking the Lord in all things
  • Steeping yourself in His Word
  • Relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength
  • Eating healthy food
  • Moving your body every day
  • Giving yourself lots of grace!

I hope this has been helpful for you in understanding comfort food and how it often leads to guilt. Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on this topic, and I look forward to responding to them soon!

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