Comfort Cravings

How to soothe yourself without food—and how to eat healthfully and mindfully

One Simple Way to Cope with Chocolate Cravings

Using the "Foil Effect" to cope with cravings

Here is a quiz for chocolate lovers.  Which type of chocolate might help you cope more effectively with cravings—M&Ms or Hershey Kisses?  If you picked the Kisses, you would be correct.  In a recent study, researchers examined how many chocolates people ate when the chocolates were wrapped versus already unwrapped.  The simple act of un-wrapping each piece reduced the amount people ate by almost 30%. 

In a second study, the researchers had subjects use sugar tongs to pick up the chocolates.  Adding just this one step had the same effect.   

The overall finding suggested that putting just a small effort into eating something—including chocolate--can significantly reduce the amount you eat.  The benefit?  This takes very minimal effort.   No struggling.  I have dubbed the findings in this study the “foil effect” because it is reminiscent of the Pistachio Effect which works in the same way.  When you put effort into getting pistachios out of the shell versus those that are already shelled for you, you eat less of them.  The good news is that you end up just as satisfied (see this study).

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So, the next time you are trying to decide what kind of chocolate to buy, try individually wrapped pieces instead of those ready to eat out of a bag or box.  If that doesn’t work, try building in an extra step like using sugar tongs to pick it up, wrap it in foil or double bag it.  As a bonus, eating the chocolate slowly will help you to savor and enjoy it more.  Let's face it.  It's not easy to cope with cravings--particularly chocolate cravings! 

For more ways to improve the way you eat with scientifically based, easy-to-do tricks, see my new book, Eat.Q:  Unlock the Weight Loss Power of Emotional Intelligence.

"Like" us on Facebook!  Dr. Susan Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and the author of six books on mindful eating.  She has been quoted in the New York Times, Self, O Magazine, Shape, Fitness and on the Dr. Oz show.  Learn more about Eat.Q:  Unlock the Weight Loss Power of Emotional Intelligence on  www.eatq.com

*It Takes Some Effort.  How Minimal Physical Effort Reduces Consumption Volume in the  Appetite, 2013 by Thomas A. Brunner

 

Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a psychologist who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness. 

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