For most of us – “watching” implies avoiding forbidden items.
Avoiding eye contact with chocolate fudge sundae, is helpful when you’re trying to keep forbidden items off the menu, but there is more to “watching” than meets the eye.
“Eyes” rule the plate
Researchers from Bristol University used a little trickery on their 100 volunteers to elucidate just how much your eyes contribute to the “hunger” conversation.
The volunteers arrived for their FREE LUNCH.
The catch, there always is one, there is no such thing as a free lunch, was that the soup bowls had been doctored a bit. Everyone did get soup, but how much, was subject to a little deception. The experimental trickery involved manipulating the amount of soup seen and the amount of soup consumed.
- 25 volunteers saw 300 ml of soup and got 500 ml
- 25 volunteers saw 500 ml of soup and got 300 ml
- 25 volunteers saw 300 ml of soup and got 300 ml
- 25 volunteers saw 500 ml of soup and got 500 ml
Seeing is believing
Once the soup had been eaten, volunteers were asked how satisfied they felt with the free lunch. The researchers were not interested in a critique of the soup quality, but in whether the soup had filled up the hole.
Immediately after lunch, those who ate more soup felt fuller. Duh…..
But a couple of hours later – the story unexpectedly changed.
The people who had seen the small bowl of soup (300 ml) felt way more hungry, than the people who had seen the big bowl of soup (500 ml).
Seen the bowl of soup. Not eaten the bowl of soup.
The eyes were dictating hunger. THE EYES, not the stomach.
Watching whether you are full
So if you’re watching what you eat – WATCH OUT. This research suggests your eyes are always “watching”, but their vigilance may not always serve you.
The trouble starts with the fact that your eyes are not only taking into account which tantalizing morsels are on the plate, they’re also registering just how much is on the plate.
From past experience, the eye has learned exactly how much of something it takes to make you fell full.
So…. anytime you sit in front of a plate of food, the eye sends a report to the brain, informing it that there is enough food to satisfy your energy needs. Or, when it is just a lettuce leaf or two – that this meal is a DISASTER.
And that the brain must institute plan B…………….. starvation is immenient.
Starvation is highly unlikely
Of course, in today’s world – starvation is highly unlikely, we live in a world of more than enough.
Unfortunately, if you’re running the “I am about to starve programme” in your head. Your brain responds accordingly – with plan B. The plan B response…………….. EAT MORE.
So at the very next meal, even if your stomach doesn’t feel it needs a little more, your brain will insist on taking extra bites, to avert a potential energy crisis.
And, although the bites may be perfectly acceptable i.e. not high in carbs or high in fats, the fact that you’re eating MORE than you really need, means the MORE needs to be processed. And more often than not, the MORE ends up being stored for a rainy day……
And thanks to climate change ………. rainy days don’t happen too often.
Remembering your last meal effect
Ouch…. you’re not just eating because you KNOW it will taste real good and your stomach is empty, you’re loading up the plate because of an EYE SCAN. An eye scan that happened a couple of hours earlier.
Your eyes are doing more than leading you into temptation – they loading up the plate !
Maybe it is time to get glasses – so that the food on your plate LOOKS BIGGER.
Appetite suppressing glasses
One way to make the amount of food on your plate look like MORE – is to use a smaller plate. You are using a plate ?
It might be chic and cool to have enormous plates on the table, but that helping of food disappears on the BIG plate. The same serving on a small plate, ends up occupying the whole plate – which LOOKS like a lot more.
Your eyes will be IMPRESSED……
And because you’re wearing “appetite suppressing glasses” – you’ll be less hungry at your next meal.Episodic Memory and Appetite Regulation in Humans. PLOS ONE (2012) 7(12):e50707. Jeffrey M. Brunstrom, Jeremy F. Burn, Nicola R. Sell, Jane M. Collingwood, Peter J. Rogers, Laura L. Wilkinson, Elanor C. Hinton, Olivia M. Maynard, Danielle Ferriday
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