Mon, May 1st, 2017

Diet ready meals may help slimmers pile on pounds by encouraging binge eating

They are seen by millions as a quick and easy way to lose weight.

But diet ready meals may quickly leave us dissatisfied, research shows.

Men and women given low-calorie spaghetti bolognese lost their taste for the dish in just five days.

In contrast, those who tucked into a normal version of the lunch liked it as much at the end of the week as at the start.

The finding may help explain why so many people find it hard to stick to a diet. Although diet foods may seem like a hassle-free way of cutting calories, we may quickly ditch them in favour of the real thing – and pile back on the pounds.

The Bristol University researchers recruited 36 men and women of normal weight and asked them to come in for lunch every

day for five days. Half were given a supermarket spaghetti bolognese microwave meal to eat and the others had a low-fat version.

The two meals were rated equally tasty at the start of the experiment. But, after just five days, the popularity of the diet pasta had roughly halved.

Researcher Jeffrey Brunstrom said: ‘Perhaps this is why people engage in “yo-yo dieting”.’

The volunteers’ expectations of how much the low-fat pasta would fill them up did not change during the study, but may have fallen over a longer period of time, he added.

Although it is well known that we quickly get to like fatty and sugary foods, the study is the first to show that we can go off the more healthy alternatives just as rapidly.

But it is not all bad news for diet foods.

The researchers, who were part-funded by Nestle, explained that ‘low-energy dense varieties’ of food  –  such as yoghurt and low-fat spreads and ice cream  –  are common in many cultures.

‘In these foods, preference might be governed by the prospect of consuming a healthy alternative and this might compensate for shifts in palatability over time,’ they told the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

‘Alternatively, palatability might be preserved, especially for foods consumed in smaller portions.

‘Reducing the energy density of a small food portion, for example a snack food, has a modest effect.

‘The same change to a large portion, for example a main meal, will have an absolute marked effect.’

Previous research has questioned the value of ‘fun-sized’ snacks and artificial sweeteners in the battle of the bulge.

read more: www.dailymail.co.uk

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