Saturday, April 26, 2008

Think yourself thin.....

This study has received a fair amount of interest in the press - Recall of recent lunch and its effect on subsequent snack intake for example Think yourself thin, recall lunch in the Daily Telegraph.

....researchers have found that “actively remembering your last meal suppresses appetite and reduces the desire to snack on junk food”. It also says the study found that concentrating on food while eating makes you less likely to get hungry later on.

As usual, NHS Choices have a good analysis of the research which indicates that things may not be as simple as that.

This was a small study that looked at the effect of recent meal recall on snacking. There are a number of limitations to consider:
  • All of the participants were healthy young people, with BMIs in the normal range. It’s not clear whether the same effect would be seen in older people or children, people who were less healthy, or people outside of the normal BMI range.
  • This study only looked at the effects of meal recall on snacking in the short term. It’s not clear whether this technique could reduce snacking if used on a regular basis, or whether the reductions in snacking seen would have any effect on a person’s overall calorie intake or weight.
Reducing weight is difficult for some people, and thinking of a recent meal might help them reduce their snacking. However, unless this is part of a programme that includes a healthy diet and increased physical activity, this technique seems unlikely to have much effect.

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