Portion control is probably the single most sensible diet advice out there–and also the hardest one to keep. If you can run 5 miles like nobody’s business but can’t stop after one square of dark chocolate (and really, who can?), a new study shows that smelling this beforehand can make you eat less and prevent overeating…
Researchers at University of Leeds conducted a study with dieters and non-dieters, and asked each group to smell either oranges or chocolate. They then let the subjects eat as much chocolate as they liked–and dieters who smelled oranges ate a whopping 60% less chocolate than the dieters who smelled chocolate. Interestingly, smelling oranges or chocolate had no effect on non-dieters’ chocolate consumption.
So how does this work? Researchers believe that smelling a fresh, healthy option like an orange gives “diet cues” that subconsciously guide the dieter’s decision. Really great news is that these diet cues work the best when you need your willpower the most–when hungry and more prone to make poor decisions. (Smelling healthy cues like oranges had no effect on dieters who had eaten less than 2 hours prior and were satiated). So next time you come home starving at 7:30 pm, having had nothing since lunch, have a small piece of fruit to stave off hunger before making dinner…or um, while waiting for your take-out, because we’re human too and sometimes a girl just wants to relax, amiright?
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