Navigation Links
Mental Imagery a New Weight-Loss Tool?
Date:12/9/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers report that they may have hit on a new trick for weight loss: To eat less of a certain food, they suggest you envision yourself gobbling it up beforehand.

Repeatedly imagining the consumption of a food reduces one's appetite for it at that moment, said lead researcher Carey Morewedge, an assistant professor of social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

"Most people think that imagining a food increases their desire for it and whets their appetite. Our findings show that it is not so simple," she said.

Thinking of a food -- how it tastes, smells or looks -- does increase our appetite. But performing the mental imagery of actually eating that food decreases our desire for it, Morewedge added.

For the study, published in the Dec. 10 issue of Science, Morewedge's team conducted five experiments. In one, 51 individuals were asked to imagine doing 33 repetitive actions, one at a time. A control group imagined putting 33 coins into a washing machine. Another group imagined putting 30 quarters into the washer and eating three M&Ms. A third group imagined feeding three quarters into the washer and eating 30 M&Ms.

The individuals were then invited to eat freely from a bowl of M&Ms. Those who had imagined eating 30 candies actually ate fewer candies than the others, the researchers found.

To be sure the results were related to imagination, the researchers then mixed up the experiment by changing the number of coins and M&Ms. Again, those who imagined eating the most candies ate the fewest.

In three additional experiments, Morewedge's group confirmed that imagining the eating reduced actual consumption through a process known as habituation. Simply thinking about the food repeatedly or imagining eating a different food did not significantly influence consumption, the researchers also found.

This simulation technique might also help reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and drugs, the authors say.

However, at least one expert had reservations about the findings.

"This small study may offer insights for further research, but the message is not that we can think ourselves thin or reduce food cravings by repeatedly imagining eating a certain food," said Samantha Heller, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn.

It was not in the scope of the study to examine how long the effect described lasted, but it is important to consider, she said. Was it five minutes? Two days? Were the participants hungry during one part of the study but not during another arm of the experiment? And were they normal weight, overweight or underweight, she asked.

"All these factors, and many more, could affect how someone responds to repeatedly imagining eating a certain food," Heller said.

Overweight or obese people may have very different psychological and biochemical responses to this simulation approach compared with normal-weight individuals, she noted.

"Food cravings are a complex mix of physiological, psychological, environmental and hormonal aspects," Heller added.

"Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains, and exercising, may help reduce the strength and frequency of food cravings," she added.

More information

For more information on losing weight, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Carey Morewedge, Ph.D., assistant professor, social and decision sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator, Center for Cancer Care, Griffin Hospital, Derby, Conn.; Dec. 10, 2010, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Mental Health America Encourages Journalists, Media Professionals to Submit Entries for 2010 Media Awards
2. New Diagnostic Guidelines for Mental Illnesses Proposed
3. Go Wild with Blinds Retailer Tuiss.co.uk and Environmental Charity Landlife
4. MIT's Center for Transportation & Logistics Announces new Environmental Performance Consortium at Annual Crossroads Conference
5. Flat Head Syndrome Linked to Developmental Delays
6. “Hearts and Minds” Education Program Launched: On Average, People with Mental illness Live 25 Years Less than Other Americans
7. Rockland County Landlord Agrees to Settlement With United States to Protect Fair Housing Rights of Tenants With Mental Disabilities
8. Congressional Staff Briefing, Wed., Feb. 24 on Mental Health, Medicaid & Block Grants
9. Antidepressants in Pregnancy May Delay Developmental Milestones
10. GREENGUARD Environmental Institute Revamps Web Site
11. Olympic Mental Trainer, Dan Vitchoff of PA Hypnosis Center Helps Both Athletes and Sufferers of PTSD
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Mental Imagery a New Weight-Loss Tool?
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... ... Textile Exchange is excited to announce the release of the second ... is an important opportunity for interested parties to give input into the standard, and ... The RWS is intended to be a global benchmark for animal welfare and land ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Einstein Medical is proud ... cover the latest news and commentary at the 2016 ASCRS/ASOA Symposium and Congress, which ... American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and the American Society of Ophthalmic Administrations ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... , ... TLC Laser Eye Centers announced today that it has acquired Gordon ... be called “Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute, a TLC Laser Eye Center.” , ... ensure that patients continue to receive the highest quality of care. In addition, all ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Spring ... results with IVF and with egg freezing, today announced the grand opening of ... highest quality fertility care, Spring Fertility offers both fertility preservation (egg, sperm, embryo, ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 05, ... ... and hands-on exercises, the Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists , led ... understanding of key business and economic issues.  This one-day program at the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)... , May 5, 2016 ... addition of the  "Europe Systemic Lupus Erythematosus ...  report to their offering.       ... The latest research Europe Systemic Lupus Erythematosus ... provides comprehensive insights into Systemic Lupus Erythematosus ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... an upgrade. There are many medical recorders on the market but none like this. ... HD  offers unparalleled connectivity and functionality.  Ampronix  is a renowned authorized reseller of the ... Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160503/363416 ... ... ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... JERUSALEM , May 4, 2016 ... University of Jerusalem announced today that it had ... BioTheryX, Inc. , developer of novel protein degradation ... the development and commercialization of drug candidates representing first-in-class ... the license were not disclosed. The novel ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: