Counting bites may help to lose weight

Dec. 5, 2012 at 12:32 AM
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MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Using a computer to count bites helped people with low self-control become satiated at rates similar to people with high self-control, U.S. researchers say.

Joe Redden, an assistant professor of marketing in the Carlson School of Management of the University of Minnesota and an expert on the topic of satiation, said satiation occurs when people repeatedly consume something, but tend to like it less.

Satiation can pose a challenge for marketers if people don't enjoy their favorite things -- be they products or television shows -- indefinitely, but it serves a useful purpose when it comes to eating; when a person is satiated, it's a mechanism to stop eating.

Volunteers were grouped into two categories: those who tested as having high self-control and those with low self-control.

The researchers had the study subjects use a counter -- similar to those used by baseball coaches to monitor their pitchers -- to keep track of how many times they swallowed.

"For people with high self-control people it didn't make much difference, because they're already doing a good job of that themselves; they have their own internal pitch counter," Redden said in a statement. But for people with low self-control, "when you give them this counter ... they now satiated like the high self-control people."

The findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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