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Want To Lose Weight? Get Bored.
A new study shows that eating the same thing everyday can help you lose weight. While many tend to overeat due to boredom, research from the University of Buffalo found that getting bored with what you eat may help you to stop overeating.
Researchers from the University of Buffalo School of Nursing, led by Leonard Epstein, PhD, explained that this phenomenon of repeated exposure to the same thing that eventually leads to a decreased response is known as habituation, and is the same reason why drug addicts need higher doses of drugs to maintain their desired high.
In the study, researchers put 32 women – 16 of whom were obese – on an unhealthy diet of macaroni and cheese. Each of these women were randomly assigned to eat macaroni and cheese either every day or once a week.
By the time of evaluation, both obese and non-obese women who ate macaroni and cheese everyday consumed fewer calories than the women who ate it once a week. In fact, the women in the second group actually consumed at least 30 more calories.
Does Variety Make You Fat?
While eating mac and cheese everyday seems like a good idea, Shelly McGuire, associate professor of nutrition at Washington State University and spokeswoman of American Society for Nutrition, said that riety of fruits and vegetables, they get into trouble only when they are presented with a huge variety of high-fat, low-nutrient foods on a daily basis.
Researchers of the said study explored the hypothesis that people tend to become habituated to foods when they eat the same thing over and over again. This psychological phenomenon called habituation is a decreased response to a particular stimulus, in this case macaroni and cheese, with increased exposure to it.
How This Might Affect Your Lifestyle
Upon the publishing of this study, not only nutritionists, but also dieters have shared their reactions online.
In a forum of an online weight loss program, Mara Diaz voiced her concern about this study. She said that if ever a dieter would apply this to their life they will have to stock their house with the same food, eat the same thing every day even when they are out of the house, and force themselves to be bored with what they are eating, which most likely won’t work.
However, because habituation is a normal psychological response leading to satiation, the study didn’t show that the women who ate macaroni and cheese everyday actually forcing themselves to get bored with what they were eating; they just did.
In the study, the researchers also discussed the various paradigms of habituation that have been observed in the years past, with each paradigm showing a decreasing rate of response to the food, as measured by the subjects’ salivation.
Thus, while it may be impossible to live eating the same kind of food everyday just so you could lose weight, it is possible for you to get bored with eating it, no matter how delicious it may taste.
How Many Will You Gain First Before You Lose?
Regardless of the possibility that you may eventually get bored eating your favorite foods if you eat them everyday, Diaz voiced out another concern: how many pounds will you gain first before you get satiated and stop eating the same unhealthy food? She also gave examples of sweet desserts, which are high in fat and sugar, and said that it might be hard to get bored with a decadent chocolate cake.
While it is noted that research does not explicitly say that the habituated food is given up completely, Epstein and his colleagues only found that the women who ate every day consumed less and less of the macaroni and cheese as the trials progressed. They also did not measure the women’s weights before and after the study; they only measured the calories consumed.
Because the research is still in its infancy, Epstein and his colleagues from the University of Buffalo hope that further research would answer new questions from their study. McGuire said that the study provides a very interesting new piece to the obesity puzzle by suggesting that meal monotony may actually result to reduced calorie consumption.
Given more time and further research, this diet tactic might be one to look out for.