Monthly Archives: September 2008

Strategy for Impulsive Eating

Remember when you pigged out on birthday cake? If you’re an impulsive eater, that memory might help you choose a fruit salad next time around.

When it comes to tempting or fattening foods, some people are a lot more impulsive than others. And according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, impulsive people think and act differently than non-impulsive people after they remember a time when they resisted or succumbed to temptation.

Authors Anirban Mukhopadhyay (University of Michigan), Jaideep Sengupta (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), and Suresh Ramanathan (University of Chicago) assessed the impulsivity of participants in four related studies. They had participants recall instances where they gave in to temptation or resisted it. In addition to making hypothetical food choices, participants also had opportunities to eat cookies or cheeseballs—without knowing their consumption was being tracked. In the case of impulsive people, ‘…thinking about failure may actually beget success,’ write the authors.

‘We propose and find that chronically non-impulsive individuals display behavior consistency over time—resisting when they recall having resisted earlier. In contrast, impulsive individuals show a switching pattern, resisting current temptations if they recall having succumbed, and vice versa,’ write the authors.

‘So what is it that makes people succumb to temptation, time after sinful time? We suggest that the likelihood of a repeat act of indulgence depends on what people recall doing the previous time they were faced with a similar choice,’ the authors write. ‘In general, chronically impulsive people are more likely to feel this conflict between the two forces—of giving in and holding back, while those who tend to be less impulsive are also less likely to experience such a struggle.’

The results of this study suggest ways to improve the health of both impulsive and non-impulsive consumers. Both groups did a better job of resisting temptation when they recalled past instances of resisting temptation along with their reasons for resisting.

Chicago Journals – News: “Embargoed Release: September 15, 2008
Contact: Mary-Ann Twist / 608-255-5582 / [email protected]

Anirban Mukhopadhyay, Jaideep Sengupta, and Suresh Ramanathan. ‘Recalling Past Temptations: An Information-Processing Perspective on the Dynamics of Self-Control’ Journal of Consumer Research: December 2008.

(Via Chicago Journals – News.)

Photographing meals ‘could help weight loss’ – Telegraph

By Kate Devlin Medical Correspondent

Last Updated: 9:39PM BST 03 Sep 2008

Slimmers began to eat healthier food when they were asked to take a picture of what they were eating, scientists found.

The pictures appear to have concentrated the dieters’s mind at just the right time, before they were about to eat, the researchers who carried out the study believe.

Photographs were also more effective at encouraging volunteers to watch what they ate than traditional written food diaries. “More…

(Via Photographing meals ‘could help weight loss’ – Telegraph.)