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Study: Psychology of Food Choices, What It Takes to Feel Truly Satisfied
Date:9/16/2009

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, conducts study to learn more about what makes a food satisfying to both the belly and brain

NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Sep. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research suggests that there are important psychological factors to consider when making a food choice. While previous research has shown that foods with natural fiber and protein may be the most physiologically satisfying(1-3), a recent four-week cross-over trial conducted by Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD suggests that true satisfaction from food is multi-dimensional, involving both physical and psychological factors.

Zuckerbrot, who has counseled more than 1,000 patients about their eating habits over the years, designed a study to measure and better understand the physiological satisfaction of food. She measured how different foods impact one's desire to eat again, limit how much one thinks about food, improve one's mood and energy level, and satisfy one's sweet cravings. For the study, Zuckerbrot selected four common snacks with similar calorie levels and nutrient profiles: shelled edamame, low-fat wheat crackers, fruit-flavored yogurt, and a whole soy and fruit bar. She worked with 42 female participants who alternately consumed one of the four test foods each afternoon over a four-week period. Participants completed daily surveys to report their overall satisfaction, general and specific cravings, and hunger levels one hour after consuming each food.

The study confirmed that satisfying hunger has many dimensions - physical and psychological - and the best food choice meets all of these. The whole soy and real fruit bar was rated best by participants at managing hunger and cravings, taste, and perceptions of healthfulness. Although the foods were fairly similar with regard to calories, it was not surprising to Zuckerbrot that the whole soy and real fruit bar ranked highest for managing hunger
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