Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of the Web site supermarketguru.com, said studies conducted by Nicole Mead, an assistant professor at Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics in Portugal, said when a craving hits, people often think they have two choices, giving in, or resisting.
"If you give in, you are usually feeling guilty … if you resist, you often feel deprived and you might overindulge later on," Mead said. However, Mead said there is a third option, which might help people eat less of a food over time -- postpone the snack and tell yourself you can have it later.
In Mead's research, participants were put in situations and told either they could eat the snack in front of them, not eat it, or told they could have them later.
Mead found the group told not to eat the candy ate the most, while those told to eat freely as well as those asked to postpone, ate about half the amount. However, the group told they could eat the snack later ate the least, Lempert said.
Mead speculated that postponing snacking gave the mind a cooling-off period as well as taking the feelings of being either guilty or deprived out of the picture.