Reducing variety in food choices may represent an important strategy for those trying to lose weight, according to a new research.
Moreover, having a person even remember that they have eaten a certain food recently may be effective in this regard.
Studies have shown that many people become disinterested in a particular food when they are repeatedly exposed to it. This response, called habituation, can decrease caloric intake in the short-run.
Conversely, when presented with a variety of foods, caloric intake can increase. The "food addiction hypothesis" purports that some people may overeat because they are insensitive to the normal habituation response and thus need even more exposure to a food to trigger a disinterest.
Sixteen nonobese and 16 obese women were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: the "weekly group" participated in weekly experimental food exposure sessions for 5 wk, whereas the "daily group" was studied daily for 5 consecutive days.
During each 28-min experimental session, subjects were asked to complete a variety of tasks after which they were "rewarded" by being given a 125-kcal portion of macaroni and cheese. Participants could work for as much food as they wanted. The researchers then evaluated total energy intake.
Whereas weekly food exposure increased total caloric intake by approximately 30 kcal/d, daily exposure decreased energy consumption by 100 kcal/d. This supports long-term habituation in terms of caloric intake.
The study has been published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.