One group of researchers studied roughly 60 female students in their 20s.
Study 1. The researchers gave each student a bowl of 20 individually wrapped or 20 unwrapped chocolate candies and told her to eat as much as she wanted. After 5 minutes, the students averaged about 5 pieces of unwrapped candy, but only about 3½ pieces of wrapped candy.
Study 2. In a similar experiment, the students ate 5 unwrapped candies that they could grab with their fingers, but only 3½ candies wrapped in transparent foil or unwrapped candies that they had to pick up using tongs.
A second group of scientists used chocolates to see if people are influenced by what others eat. They let 66 students relax in a room with a bowl of chocolates for 10 minutes (before taking a reaction test). When a bowl of wrappers was also present, 72 percent of the participants took a chocolate. When a bowl without wrappers was present, only 45 percent took a chocolate.
What to do: If you’re trying not to snack, keep it wrapped up, out of arm’s reach, or out of sight. And be aware that what others eat may affect how much you eat.
Source: Appetite 71: 89, 2013. Appetite 70: 1, 2013.
Other relevant links:
- Follow these tips to minimize calories at restaurants. See: How to Diet While Eating Out
- Aim for lower-calorie foods and smaller portions. See: What’s the Difference between an Overweight Person’s and a Thin Person’s Diet?
- A day’s worth of food on a healthy diet. See: The OmniHeart Diet: What a Healthy Diet Looks Like