Friday, April 24, 2009

Food Commercials Affect Snack Food Intake in Kids

Hmmm....I guess those food companies are getting their money's worth with when they pay for ad time on TV! At least that's what a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is suggesting.

Dutch researchers wanted to test whether watching TV interrupted by commercials about food would affect the amount of snack food that the children in the study would eat. Boys and girls aged 8-12 watched a movie which included breaks for two commercials that were either neutral or about food. They were free to snack on available foods during the movie.

The researchers found that boys who watched food commercials ate more food during the film compared to those who saw neutral commercials, whereas the opposite was found in girls! The funny thing was that the commercials weren't even about the particular food that the kids were eating, which would suggest that food commercials simply affect appetite and food choices over all.

Although this study was done with kids, I can definitely attest to the fact that I've been tempted on many occasions by tasty-looking foods in commercials, but other times they reinforce the fact that I should avoid those foods if I want to eat healthy and feel good about myself. Ultimately, though, deprivation is not the key to weight loss - it's more about balance, so I guess there's always a little wiggle room for snacks in every diet, right?