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Food Memories Lead To Weight Loss; Not Thinking About Food Leads To Overeating

Mar 18, 2013 02:00 PM EDT

Here's some food for thought: thinking about the last time you ate a satisfying meal will cause you to eat less later on.

So goes the thinking of researchers at the University of Leeds, who have studied how our awareness impacts how much food we eat.

"Our research found that if people recalled their last meal as being filling and satisfying then they ate less during their next meal," said Eric Robinson, the lead researcher in the study.

Robinson's research suggests that remembering meals, being more aware and paying added attention to what we are eating will result in lower food consumption and could also help people on weight loss programs.

"This could be developed as a new strategy to help with weight loss and maintenance and reduce the need for calorie controlled dieting," Robinson said.

Researchers also identified that eating while distracted leads to over-consumption of the immediate meal, and consistent distracted-eating can lead to a habit of over-consumption.

Eating while watching television, listening to the music or the radio or reading at the table during a meal can all impede awareness, which will lead to overeating, the study said.

Robinson acknowledged that more work needs to be done in order for the findings to be put into practical use and that a more diverse population of eaters must be tested.

"Also, the studies we analyzed looked at adults with healthy body mass index so additional work is needed to find out how this might affect people who are overweight."

The research is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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