Tuesday, April 6, 2010

'Healthy' Foods May Blow Your Diet!

Source: Medline Plus (Sumary by NIM)

We've all been there. You know, you resist buying the 'bad' snacks, and get the 'healthy' ones instead, but one thing leads to another and the whole package is gone. You justify your gluttony by reminding yourself that it was the low- cal/sodium/sugar/fat variety of (insert snack name here). At the end of the week, you still can't seem to figure out why you aren't losing any weight! Thanks to a new study, you just might stop yourself from recreating this scenario next time you shop.

Researchers have discovered that when food is marketed as 'healthy', it actually heightens our feelings of hunger and gives us an excuse to eat more than we normally would. In the study, the researchers marketed a chocolate-covered raspberry protein bar by two different names and examined what happens when people eat them, or when they just look at them.

When the bar was labelled as
"a new health bar," containing lots of protein, vitamins and fibre, participants said they were less full and rated their hunger as much higher than the participants who ate it when it was called a "chocolate bar that is very tasty and yummy with a chocolate-raspberry core." In a third scenario, participants were asked to rate their hunger after examining both bars but not eating them. Their hunger levels were on par with the participants who had eaten the 'tasty' bar. This means that those who ate the 'health' bar were even more hungry than people who hadn't even eaten it at all!!

According to one of the researchers,
"One of the challenges in losing weight is that people tend to compensate themselves for partial success by overeating and will end up gaining that weight and more,". In other words, we do well for ourselves by eating a salad, so we overcompensate by loading up on dessert afterwards. If we ate something we believed was 'regular' or somewhat more substantial, we would probably pass up on that dessert.

Find out more about this eye-opening study by reading the article called "
Calling a Food 'Healthy' May Make You Hungrier" from Medline Plus (Apr. 2, 2010).