Two studies have found that diet foods and snack bans could trigger binge eating among children.
The first study by Dr Jeff Brunstrom and colleagues at Bristol University tested 18 volunteers who were given low-calorie diet foods to eat. However participants quickly assessed that the foods lacked calories and helped themselves to larger portions to stay full.
In another study by the same team, children who were not allowed to eat sweets and chocolate were unable to assess how many calories such foods contained and ended up overeating as compared to kids who were allowed to eat sweets or chocolate at home.
"These findings suggest that limiting access to certain snack foods limits learning about their properties," Dr Brunstrom told the Daily Mail. "Thus, when snack foods are eventually encountered they might tend to be selected in larger portions."
The details of both studies will be presented at a British Nutrition Foundation conference.