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Mind over stomach......two interesting articles......


Food Memories Can Help With Weight Loss

Mar. 18, 2013 -- Research led by a psychologist at the University of Liverpool has found that using memories of recent meals reduces the amount of food eaten later on. It also found that being distracted when eating leads to increased consumption.

Researchers analysed 24 separate studies which had examined the impact of awareness, attention, memory and distraction on how much food we eat.

Lower food consumption

They found that remembering meals, being more aware and paying added attention to meals results in lower food consumption and could help with weight loss programmes.

Techniques such as writing down previous meals, using visual reminders of previous meals and keeping food wrappers were found to help with food memories and lead to a reduction in meal sizes.

Dr Eric Robinson, from the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said: "Our research found that if people recalled their last meal as being filling and satisfying then they ate less during their next meal.

"The studies we analysed looked at adults with healthy body mass index so additional work is needed to find out how this might affect people who are overweight"

This could be developed as a new strategy to help with weight loss and maintenance and reduce the need for calorie controlled dieting.

"However, whilst techniques which remind you of what you have eaten reduce food consumption, some practical strategies to put these findings into practice need to be further developed.

"Also, the studies we analysed looked at adults with healthy body mass index so additional work is needed to find out how this might affect people who are overweight."

Distractions lead to increased consumption

The research also identified that being distracted when eating a meal leads to increased consumption of the immediate meal but has even more of an effect on later eating.

Distractions, which include watching television, listening to the radio or music or reading a newspaper at the dinner table, impede a person's awareness of the food they are eating and results in over-consumption.

The research is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Could Our Minds Be Tricked Into Satisfying Our Stomachs?

-- Research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior suggests that the key to losing weight could lie in manipulating our beliefs about how filling we think food will be before we eat it, suggesting that portion control is all a matter of perception.


Test subjects were more satisfied for longer periods of time after consuming varying quantities of food for which they were led to believe that portion sizes were larger than they actually were.

Memories about how satisfying previous meals were also played a causal role in determining how long those meals staved off hunger. Together, these results suggest that expectations before eating and memory after eating play an important role in governing appetite and satiety.

In the first experiment, participants were shown the ingredients of a fruit smoothie. Half were shown a small portion of fruit and half were shown a large portion. They were then asked to assess the 'expected satiety' of the smoothie and to provide ratings before and three hours after consumption. Participants who were shown the large portion of fruit reported significantly greater fullness, even though all participants consumed the same smaller quantity of fruit.

In a second experiment, researchers manipulated the 'actual' and 'perceived' amount of soup that people thought that they had consumed. Using a soup bowl connected to a hidden pump beneath the bowl, the amount of soup in the bowl was increased or decreased as participants ate, without their knowledge. Three hours after the meal, it was the perceived (remembered) amount of soup in the bowl and not the actual amount of soup consumed that predicted post-meal hunger and fullness ratings.

The findings could have implications for more effective food labeling.

"The extent to which a food that can alleviate hunger is not determined solely by its physical size, energy content, and so on. Instead, it is influenced by prior experience with a food, which affects our beliefs and expectations about satiation. This has an immediate effect on the portion sizes that we select and an effect on the hunger that we experience after eating," said Dr. Brunstrom.

"Labels on 'light' and 'diet' foods might lead us to think we will not be satisfied by such foods, possibly leading us to eat more afterwards," added Dr. Brunstrom. "One way to militate against this, and indeed accentuate potential satiety effects, might be to emphasize the satiating properties of a food using labels such as 'satisfying' or 'hunger relieving'."

The research was funded by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and a consortium of food companies under a joint initiative with the Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC).

The lead author was Jeff Brunstrom of the University of Bristol UK.