Have you ever said just thinking about food is enough to put on extra weight?
Afraid a trip to the dessert table at family and social gatherings will make your scale blush in the morning?
Well a fascinating new study about food cravings was published in the journal Science this month, just in time for Christmas dinner. Apparently thinking about food isn’t such a bad thing after all… as long as you think about eating a specific food – a lot.
According to Carey Morewedge, the study’s lead author and assistant professor of social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, “There’s a huge literature on craving and it all suggests that the more you think about something the more you crave it. But we found that imagining the consumption of food actually significantly decreased the desire to consume it.”
So how does that work?
By imagining eating a specific food, such as cheese or M&Ms, the study participants simply desired to eat it less. So they did eat less. Which is the exact opposite of what we’ve been told for years.
Here’s the catch: you have to imagine eating a specific food. Not just once but again and again. And the mental appetite suppressant only works on the actual food you think about. So if you want to eat less cookies, thinking about eating turkey isn’t going to help.
Unless you have a particular craving for one specific item at the table, this method probably won’t help you a whole bunch. Still it’s interesting food for thought.
Fortunately, much more helpful advice on losing weight isn’t any farther than a click to the Weight Loss category on our blog.
Morewedge CK, Huh YE, Vosgerau J. Thought for Food: Imagined Consumption Reduces Actual Consumption. Science. 2010 Dec 10;330(6010):1530-3.
Hutchinson, C. Imagination Diet: Thinking About Eating Kills Cravings. ABC News. 2010 Dec 9.