Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

A new research done by the University of Tübingen, which was presented recently at the annual assembly of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior claims that simply making a small change in your thought process when you are making meal choices will help you cut down calories. When participants gave attention to certain factors while choosing what they eat, it helped reduce their portion sizes.

“Daily food intake is highly dependent on the portion sizes we select,” said Stephanie Kullmann, lead researcher of the project. “The rise in obesity since the 1950s has directly paralleled increasing portion sizes. We are finding that switching an individual’s mindset during pre-meal planning has the potential to improve portion control.”

A ‘health-focused mindset’ can also help push lean individuals to go for healthier food options, according to the research team. Brain scans revealed that this way activity in the prefrontal cortex is triggered, which is often associated with the self control when eating and meal planning. The latest study done by the team shows how a simple change in mindset can help people who struggle with weight loss.

For the study, scientists worked with participants ranging from normal weight to obese. When participants were asked to chose the portion sizes for their lunch, researchers told them to shift their mindset on either the health benefits of the food, the pleasure they will get by eating the food, or on the factor of how full they were going to stay until supper. In a control condition, participants were also asked to go for their usual portion sizes without making any change in their mindset.

When patients gave some thought to their meals, they tended to select smaller portions whereas in the control condition where no attention was paid to their choices, participants selected larger portions. Those who gave more thought to fullness also went for larger portions and same stood true for those who cared about the pleasure they will get from their meals- but in this scenario obese participants selected larger portions than normal-weight patients.

“This influence of pre-meal mindset on food choices may contribute to the vicious cycle we observe in obesity,” explained Kullmann. “Focusing on food for pleasure leads to bigger servings and increased brain responses to food reward, whilst the sensation of fullness is perceived as less satisfying.”

The research team reported that above all, they are happy that the results of the study indicated that this approach helped people of all weights make healthy food choices. They also suggested that this method can be used when developing strategies for managing a healthy weight.

The results of the study also suggested that advertisement of healthy food options as “tasty” should be avoided since participants tended to select larger portions when employing the pleasure mindset- which will eventually be counterproductive.

Image source : My Fit Station

By Purnima

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