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We all stress eat. Come on, admit it, you do it too. Remember the pizza marathon that was tax season? Or how about last Christmas with the in-laws? That was a shameful amount of tiramisu.

It’s true, almost all of us turn to food as a coping mechanism for stress, from time to time.

The good news, according to a new study published on ScienceDaily, is that the reason we’re all so damned indulgent when times get hectic is totally not our fault. (WARNING: We’re about to get pretty Freudian on you here.)

Nope, it’s not your fault. It’s your parents.

The research targeted a group of children from age three to seven and discovered that when parents used food as a reinforcement or punishment for their children, the kids tended to stress eat more often than those whose delicious treats were not dangled in front of their faces like a carrot.

“Eating patterns can usually be tracked across life,” says Dr Claire Farrow, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Aston University and the study’s lead author. “So those who learn to use food as a tool to deal with emotional distress early are much more likely to follow a similar pattern of eating later on in adult life.”

Farrow adds that, unlike the carrot analogy, usually these destructive and deep-seeded habits are not causing a craving for a healthy carrot, but rather a pizza pop…or four.

“Often when people ’emotionally eat,’ they are using high calorie, high fat, energy dense foods which are not conducive to health,” says Farrow.

Boy, discovering that another of our bad habits is rooted in childhood is stressful…We’ll be in the back scarfing donuts if you need us.

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