If you’re trying to lose weight this Christmas, try thinking about eating your favourite foods - new research shows that doing so might actually help you eat less of them. And if that isn't an early Christmas present to all of us, we don't know what is.
According to a new study, thinking about your favourite food could reduce your consumption of it.
The findings debunk the age-old myth that imagining a certain food increases your appetite for it.
The research, conducted by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in the US, found that perception and mental imagery engages neural processes that can actually affect our emotions and the way we respond to food and other stimuli.
Carey Morewedge, who led the study says: ‘These findings suggest that trying to suppress one’s thoughts of desired foods in order to curb cravings for those foods is a fundamentally flawed strategy.’
The study involved making participants think about chocolate M&M’s (lucky them). Those who imagined eating 30 of the chocolates actually consumed less than those who thought about eating three.
The research could help women stick to their tricky diets over the festive period by thinking more about the unhealthy treats we love to eat at Christmas.
‘These findings will help develop future interventions to reduce cravings for things such as unhealthy food, drugs and cigarettes, and help us learn how to help people make healthier food choices,’ Morewedge explains.
So what do you think? Does dreaming about chips help you make a healthy choice at the cafe counter? Or is imagining an industrial sized bar of Green&Blacks a sure-fire way to throw your good intentions off course?
Let us know your thoughts below.