Paying attention to what you’re eating at mealtime may help curb snack cravings

Last week, New York Magazine reported in “Lunch Amnesia” on an upcoming report about snacking being published in the food science journal Appetite. The research reported in the journal found the more a person pays attention to what she eats during a meal, the more her brain remembers eating, and the less likely she is to desire snacks.

From New York Magazine:

The Appetite study was conducted at the University of Birmingham in England. Twenty-nine women were fed identical lunches: a ham sandwich, chips, and water, about 500 calories in total. Some of the students ate their lunch with only their random thoughts as company. Others ate while reading a newspaper story about changes in the size of chocolate bars and fizzy drinks in England. The rest ate while listening to a three-minute audio clip encouraging them to focus on the look, smell, flavors, and textures of their food. An hour later, the professors brought the students back and put before them plates of cookies, among them chocolate chip and chocolate fingers (apparently a British thing; we will trust that they are appealing). The students who focused on their lunch ate roughly 50 percent fewer chocolate-chip cookies and 60 percent fewer chocolate fingers than their newspaper-reading and mindless-eating counterparts. Or as the researchers put it: “Rated vividness of lunch memory was negatively correlated with snack intake.”

I often crave a snack in the middle of the afternoon and am now wondering if paying more attention to what I eat at lunch will help curb these cravings? I certainly know what I’ll be thinking about during my next meal.

Thanks to my friend Gretchen for tipping me off to this interesting report.

2 comments posted

  1. Posted by Lynda - 06/18/2011

    Take a look at this and all may make sense about the Chocolate Fingers! I need to mention, before you start reading, that Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day and a national holiday (unless you work in retail) and After Eights are like a Yorks Peppermint Pattie but far, far thinner.

  2. Posted by Kati - 06/21/2011

    Cadbury Fingers are great to accompany tea drinking here in the UK. I bite both ends off of mine and suck the tea up through them like they’re a straw. Can be done with coffee too of course!

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