In a recent analysis of MASALA data, we found that experiences of discrimination, or perceiving unfair treatment in social settings, was associated with poorer dietary intake. Specifically those who experienced the highest amount of discrimination had higher consumption of sweets, both South Asian sweets and American sweets. Experiences of discrimination were not related to fruit and vegetable consumption.
One explanation for the findings is that experiences of discrimination are shown to be stressful for individuals and eating sweets may be one way South Asians cope with these experiences. Advanced studies are needed to explore relationships between discrimination and health behaviors among South Asians. Ours is the first known study to demonstrate such links.