September 12, 2012
Go Ahead, Eat Your Cake Before Dinner
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
I was told when I was a kid that you didn't want to eat your dessert first because it will spoil your dinner. Then, later in life, someone explained that you should always eat your dessert first in case you die before dinner. Now, new research indicates that there is a compromise.
Researchers wrote in the Journal of Consumer Research that eating dessert before you chow down on your steak dinner might actually help control your diet.
“Although self-control is typically viewed as a battle between willpower and desire, consumers can´t rely entirely on willpower to control their eating. They also need to create situations that will make them lose interest in food. One way is to keep better track of the quantity of unhealthy foods they eat,” the authors wrote in the journal.
Consumers who successfully controlled their diet during the study ate fewer unhealthy foods because they are satisfied sooner. In other words, eating that cookie beforehand might just give you the self control you need to help you not eat all those french fries.
The researchers found that many consumers with poor self-control were able to establish greater control when they paid close attention to the quantities of unhealthy foods they consumed.
A group of consumers during one study were asked to eat either a healthy or an unhealthy snack.
Some of the consumers were asked to count how many times they swallowed while eating. Those who counted the number of times they swallowed were satisfied more quickly even if they had a low level of self-control.
“Dieters should focus on the quantity of unhealthy foods but not the quantity of healthy foods. Monitoring healthy foods could actually be counterproductive to the goal of eating a healthier diet," the authors wrote. "So the secret to success is knowing when to monitor your eating."
So, the key to losing weight and eating healthier apparently doesn't ultimately have to rely on self-control. Indulge yourself in that pre-dinner snack, and also ensure that you count your swallows, that way you can lose weight and ensure you always get your dessert no matter what.