Can’t resist those bowls of potato chips at the party or office get-together?
Telling yourself you’ll have some later may keep you from downing handfuls of the fatty junk foods, new research has found.
Nicole Mead of Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics and her colleagues tested the notion that postponing an unhealthy snack to a later time can reduce the desire for it --- and even lower the chances you’ll ever eat it.
Mead's team gave 105 high school students in the Netherlands a bag of potato chips. Some were told to eat them right away, while others were instructed not to snack on them at all or to do so only at a later time. Still another group of students was given a choice of what to do with the chips – and when.
What the team found: Students who initially postponed eating the chips subsequently ate the least amount of the chips. What’s more, they ate even less than those who were instructed not to eat them at all.
Mead said the study supports the idea that the more people resist the food they crave, the more they crave it. The research also suggests telling yourself you’ll indulge later on – even if you don’t specify when – can help you have the willpower to initially say no. It may also keep you from going on a chip-eating binge.
The research was presented at a meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego.