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People Will Eat Less if They Believe They Ate More Previously

Update Date: Dec 06, 2012 01:37 PM EST

Want to shed those extra pounds? You may be able to trick yourself to eating lesser by making yourself believe you had a lot during the previous meal.

A new research shows that people who believe they have eaten more, feel less hungry hours after a meal. The research has been conducted by Jeffrey Brunstorm and colleagues from the University of Bristol.

For the study, the researchers showed volunteers either a small or large portion of soup just before they served lunch. Then, the researchers manipulated the amount of soup the volunteers actually consumed with the help of a covert pump which could refill or empty the soup bowl without the eater noticing it.

Soon after they ate, the researchers note that the level of hunger of volunteers was rightly reported by them, proportionate to the amount of food they had eaten, and not the amount that was shown to them.

However, after 2 to 3 hours of finishing their meals, people who were shown a bigger portion of soup reported significantly less hunger than those who had seen the smaller portion.

Twenty four hours later, it was found that those who had seen bigger bowls of soup still believed that the amount of food they had taken would satiate their hunger.

"Opportunities exist to capitalize on this finding to reduce energy intake in humans", authors conclude.

"This study is exciting because it exposes a role for cognition in the control of hunger - appetite isn't governed solely by the physical size and composition of the meals we consume," Brunstrom adds.

The study was published December 5 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

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