A Way to Eat Less: Stare at Food Porn

>There's uplifting news for the lovers of the tasty spectacle known as food porn, The Montreal Gazette reports. Although the effect is highly specific, a new study has revealed that intense scrutiny of images of food is likely to make you eat less of it:

People who spent time looking at images of M&Ms and thinking about eating M&Ms actually ate 40 to 50 per cent fewer candies when invited to eat real M&Ms, said Carey Morewedge, lead author of a study published in the academic journal Science.

So-called "food porn" — food television and lush imagery in cookbooks and magazines — tends to make us desire food more. But Morewedge found a way to short-circuit that titillation effect.

"When we decide to stop eating it happens for one of two reasons, one is that we have a full stomach and the other is habituation," he said. The 10th bite of pancake is less desirable than the first bite, not because you are full, but because you grow weary of that food over time, exposure and the act of eating itself. This is what cognitive psychologists call habituation.

Read the full story at The Montreal Gazette.

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John Hendel is a writer based in Washington, DC, and a former producer at The Atlantic.

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