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Old 23 February 2016, 06:27 PM
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Icon108 Eat in the dark to lose weight, say scientists

Turning the lights out or wearing a blindfold while eating could be a quick way to lose weight, according to scientists. The simple trick works because it stops diners eating for pleasure rather than for calories. It also triggers a part of the brain that is worried that unseen food may be rotten without visual clues to show it is fresh. An experiment by the University of Konstanz, in Germany, found that people who were blindfolded consumed nine per cent fewer calories before they felt full, compared to those who could see.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/scie...cientists.html
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Old 23 February 2016, 07:34 PM
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These people clearly didn't have pets. If I tried to eat blindfolded, Ferdinand would be snatching food off my plate as I dined.

Seaboe
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Old 23 February 2016, 07:37 PM
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That would certainly mean less food for you to eat, so they may be on to something. I wonder if they tracked weight gain by the pets of the participants.
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Old 23 February 2016, 07:45 PM
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From the article:

Quote:
It also triggers a part of the brain that is worried that unseen food may be rotten without visual clues to show it is fresh. [ . . . ] It also prevents the ‘cephalic’ phase of digestion which is triggered by the sight of food, promoting salivation and the release of gastric juices and so makes food, literally, less easy to swallow. [ . . . ] They were also asked how pleasant the ice-cream tasted and the blindfolded group rated the desert [sic] lower than those who could see.
So people eating in the dark are more likely to accidentally eat rotten food; and, even presuming they've been given food that they or someone else had inspected before eating, they're not going to digest it as well, and they're probably more likely to choke. Also, the food's not going to taste good.

I think I'll keep eating with the lights on, thanks.

thorny -- lights also make it easier to make sure the cat-with-no-manners hasn't gotten on the table [ETA: spanked!]-- locust
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Old 23 February 2016, 10:02 PM
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I would have figures that not being able to see how much food is on the plate could help people just eat until they are full rather than eating until the plate is empty. On another thread people have talked about not "wasting food" being so hardwired into their brains they will over eat rather than throw some out.
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Old 24 February 2016, 05:46 AM
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Who are t hey kidding? Have they never seen people eat at a movie theater? I don't even really like popcorn and I'll chow I t down like crazy.
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Old 24 February 2016, 02:26 PM
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Makes sense to me if you keep stabbing the side of your face with your spoon/fork.
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Old 24 February 2016, 03:04 PM
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It sounded like the protocol was to set the dishes ona table in front of the subjects. I think the results might have been different, in the way Kitap describes, if the subjects were holding the food dishes, as would more likely be the case, again as with Kitap's theater example.

And who are these test subjects!? - if someone gives me ice cream and says I am to eat all I want, but they try to take it away from me after 10 minutes, there is going to be trouble!
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Old 25 February 2016, 12:52 AM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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That looks like pretty bad science. I suspect if you fed the people, in the light, with a person standing next to them shouting you would get a similar result. In other words, you can't differentiate the specific effect from the general effect of eating under unusual conditions.

Redo the experiment with the same people eating in the dark for every meal for a couple weeks and then measure the consumption.

The comment on the cephalic reaction is also pretty suspect. Smell is just as good at triggering the reaction as is sight and once the novelty of not seeing is gone the smell will take over. (Smell is also a great way to detect rotten food, probably a better way than looking at it.)

Overall a great example of bad science.

Edit: I wonder, are blind people typically skinnier than sighted people?
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Old 25 February 2016, 01:31 PM
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It would also depend on the type of food I would think...

If I have to cut a steak, but I can't see it, I'd give up in frustration.
Chasing peas or rice around the plate? pass!

But put some ravioli, or some sausage and I'm gonna nom nom nom till it's all gone gone gone...

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  #11  
Old 25 February 2016, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
The comment on the cephalic reaction is also pretty suspect. Smell is just as good at triggering the reaction as is sight and once the novelty of not seeing is gone the smell will take over. (Smell is also a great way to detect rotten food, probably a better way than looking at it.)
I wondered about that, but I think the point was that it is a hard-wired aspect of our appetite, that we are uncontrollably suspect of foods that we cannot see. These people all knew that they were being given non-spoiled foods, but a visceral reaction to not having a look first could stunt their appetite. I would compare the sight and smell interaction to the way we choose mates - there are aspects that we determine from a distance - appearance, status, etc. - which are step 1, and then close-up aspects like smell can make us react either 'eww', 'meh', or 'oh, boy!'

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
Edit: I wonder, are blind people typically skinnier than sighted people?
There are so many things that go into the weight equation, I doubt it would serve as any guide. For instance, it seems to me that many forms of exercise, running and walking (except on treadmills), sports, weight-lifting, etc. are so much harder to do, especially vigorously, when you have to feel your way through them. Of course, the major component of one's weight balance is how many calories you take in, so maybe the exercise would not figure in so much.

ETA: I assumed jimmy was talking about total blindness. After all, that is the form most comparable to the study reported. If someone has other forms of vision impairment which are classified as 'legally blind' or otherwise comparable, one's exercise and eating limitations would be very different. For instance, with a narrow field of vision, you can still properly examine what you are about to eat, and similarly should be able to safely go running or walking (with extra head-swiveling at intersections, compared to more broadly-sighted people).

Last edited by A Turtle Named Mack; 25 February 2016 at 02:00 PM.
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