Pictures of mouth watering food can actually help improve self-control in weight-conscious women insttead of tempting them to eat, a new study has found.
Lead researcher Floor Kroese of Utrecht University in the Netherlands insists that the temptation might in fact heighten self-control.
During the study, the researchers recruited 54 female students and showed them a picture of either a slice of chocolate cake or a flower under the guise of a memory test.
The participants were then offered a choice between a chocolate or oatmeal cookie.
The study showed that women shown the cake picture gave a higher priority to their healthy eating intentions than their counterparts shown the flower.
They were also significantly more likely to pick the oatmeal cookie - which earlier tests showed was generally perceived as the healthier option.
"Food temptations do not always trigger indulgence," New Scientist quoted Kroese, as saying.
"It seems that seeing a food temptation reminded people of their goal to watch their weight, and helped them act accordingly," Kroese added.
Kroese suggests that sticking pictures of tempting foods on the fridge door may help to bring weight-watching goals to mind.
However she insists that the results can only be applied to women wanting to lose weight.
"In moderation, this positive impact of food temptations will overcome the negative impact - the urge to indulge," said Ayelet Fishbach of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.
The findings appear in journal Appetite.