Cant resist the candy bowl? There may be a way to control your sweet tooth without depriving yourself entirely: New research suggests that people eat less candy when its individually wrapped or served with tongs, according to a new series of studies appearing in the December issue of Appetite.
In the studies, researchers asked participants to taste-test wrapped and unwrapped chocolates and dried fruit. In some scenarios, they were served with tongs, while in others, they were served without them. Interestingly, people ate nearly 30 percent less when they had to unwrap the food or use tongs to serve themselves (the two different strategies didnt differ significantly, say study authors).
Researchers suspect that making food just a little more difficult to eat – by wrapping it up or using a utensil to serve it – might help you eat less (the more time you spend serving or unwrapping the food, the more time you have to consider whether you really want to eat it). That said, researchers wont know whether this trick works on non-snack foods (or when youre really, truly hungry, rather than mindlessly snacking) until more studies are done.
In the meantime, satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing it by purchasing individually-wrapped candies (luckily, theyre super easy to find this time of year!). Then, stick some tongs in your candy dish and pledge to keep your fingers out of the bowl. Or, put even more obstacles between you and the candy by storing the sweet stuff out of sight in a closed container. That way, youll have to open a cupboard and remove a lid to treat yourself.