Study: Imagine Eating To Eat Less

Forget the treadmill, shun your trainer, and start eating carbs again. It seems we've been doing it all wrong. Or to be precise, THINKING about it all wrong. In a report published in the journal Science, researchers from Carnegie Mellon have found that people who imagined eating food they're about to consume ate less than people who did not.

So say you imagine eating twenty Twinkies. And I mean, imagine the process of eating each cream-filled cake, one cake at a time, for however long it takes. When you are then presented with an actual stash of Twinkies, you are likely to eat fewer Twinkies than a person who didn't imagine the act of eating twenty Twinkies.


Those mad minds at CMU did this exact experiment, except with M&Ms. They asked one group to imagine eating thirty-three M&Ms, one-by-one. Then they asked another group to imagine pumping thirty-three quarters into a laundry machine, an equally repetitive, but less culinary rewarding task. When the two groups of people were then presented a bowl of M&Ms, the group that imagined eating M&Ms ate less candy.

So what's that mean? Diet programs that make you count imaginary calories before pigging out? I don't know. It's hard to imagine.

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