The researchers at Monash University's Centre for Health Economics looked at whether precommitment strategies such as shopping to a grocery list would result in greater weight loss in people who are overweight or obese.
Lead researcher Dr Nicole Au and her team looked at strategies for weight loss from a relatively new discipline, behavioural economics.
These strategies exploit people's behavioural tendencies and habits to nudge them towards decisions which are healthier and more in line with their long-term goals.
Dr Au said a predetermined grocery list committed shoppers to buy only the foods that were on that list thereby helping them avoid the temptations of unhealthy food purchases.
The findings were encouraging because they suggest that something as simple as shopping to a predetermined grocery list is a cost-effective means for reducing obesity and improving quality of life.
The study is published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.