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Study Shows That Repetitively Imagining Desired Foods Decreases Cravings

December 9, 2010: 03:44 AM EST

A study by U.S. researchers has found that when people repeatedly imagine eating a certain food, their desire to actually eat the food diminishes. The discovery reverses the old assumption that thinking about food causes you to eat more, according to the researchers. The research team ran five separate experiments testing whether mentally stimulating the consumption of a food reduces its subsequent actual consumption. In one, participants imagined repetitively inserting quarters into a laundry machine and/or eating M&M’S. All participants then ate freely from a bowl filled with M&M'S. Those who imagined eating 30 M&M'S actually ate significantly fewer M&M'S. Four other experiments confirmed the results. "These findings suggest that trying to suppress one's thoughts of desired foods to curb cravings is a fundamentally flawed strategy," a researcher said.

Carey K. Morewedge, et al., "Thought for Food: Imagined Consumption Reduces Actual Consumption", Science via www.andrew.cmu.edu, December 09, 2010, © American Association for the Advancement of Science
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