Forget diets, just think yourself thin: Believing a meal is bigger than it is helps to curb your appetiteThe study, published in the journal PLoS
ONE adds to evidence that our memory of what we have eaten plays a key
role in dampening appetite
07:55 GMT, 6 December 2012
Forget fad diets and soggy salads and think yourself thin.
A study has shown that believing a meal was bigger than it actually was can curb appetite.
One hundred men and women were shown either a large or small bowl of soup and then given it to eat.
Crucially, some soup was removed from or added to the bowl as they tucked in, without them realising it.
Hungry: Forget the diet, losing weight might be as simple as thinking yourself thin
Immediately afterwards, those who ate the smaller portion felt more hungry.
But after just two or three hours, the amount eaten had little effect on hunger.
Instead, those who believed they had eaten the big bowl of soup felt the most satisfied.
This meant that if two people had each eaten a small bowl of soup, the one that had been initially given a large portion felt fewer hunger pangs.
A day later, those who had been shown the large portion also rated soup as being more satiating.
The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE adds to evidence that our memory of what we have eaten plays a key role in dampening appetite.
Amnesiacs, for instance, might eat three or four meals one after the other without feeling full.
Bristol University researcher Jeff Brunstrom said: ‘Obesity remains a major public health concern.
‘Therefore understanding controls of energy intake should be high priority.
‘This is showing that the amount of hunger we experience between meals isn’t a simple product of the amount or type of food that we actually consumed – there is some sort of psychology involved.
Professor Brunstrom has previously shown that those who are distracted while eating are hungrier afterwards.
He said: ‘We have shown that if you distract someone when they eat, they have a poorer memory of that meal and also eat more at a subsequent meal.
‘Generally speaking, it’s perhaps important to have a good memory of what you have eaten.
‘One way of doing that is to make sure you don’t eat in front of the TV or computer screen.’