You can’t deny the fact that junk food is amazingly delicious. Sometimes you just need eat a box of donuts or devour that family bag of chips by yourself to keep your mental health in check.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
A life entirely without junk food would be a miserable slog, ending in a funeral and wake which no one would stay at because there’d be no good food on offer.
But there is a lot to be said for eating a lot less crap. Curbing your chances of becoming obese and developing cardiovascular disease, joint pain, diabetes shouldn’t be scoffed at.
Apart from anything, junk food can be addictive and it can be a hard habit to crack if you just want to consume a little less.
But new research claims to have discovered an effective way of helping us to eat less junk food (without swerving it all together).
They say that all you need to do is serve the food to yourself, rather than have someone give it to you.
So that means cutting yourself a slice of that office cake rather than letting someone else serve you.
The study, published in the Journal of Marketing Research, says that people eat less unhealthy food when they’re in control of how much they have in front of them.
Researchers conducted five different experiments on a group of volunteers who were brought to a room where Reese’s Pieces were on offer.
Different serving methods were tried out, including the chocolates being served in a big communal bowl, as well as being dished up in small, individual cups.
When they were in the bowl, none of the volunteers helped themselves, while a third ate the chocolates when served in individual portions.
‘We find that when participants are given the choice of whether or not to consume snacks that they perceive as relatively unhealthy, they have a greater inclination to consume these snacks when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food,’ the study says.
That means when you have to physically get up, go over to the kitchen, and cut or select whatever food option is there, you’re more likely to eat less than if someone just passed you a box of chocolates at your desk, or offered you a slice of cake.
‘We suggest that this behaviour occurs because being less physically involved in serving one’s food allows participants to reject responsibility for unhealthy eating and thus to feel better about themselves following indulgent consumption,’ it concludes.
So if you want to cut down on the junk food, maybe the answer is to measure out your own portion rather than allowing other people to serve you.
As with anything, the key is moderation.