Sweet temtation helps to loose weight.
Women who want to lose weight can have their cake – as long as they don’t eat it, scientists believe.
A study found that showing weight-conscious women pictures of sweet treats strengthens their resolve to eat healthily.
The finding suggests that glossy adverts designed to make cakes, chocolate and desserts irresistible may actually have the opposite effect.
It also means that the secret to losing weight could be as simple as decorating your fridge door with pictures of forbidden tasty treats.
Dutch psychologists asked 54 female students to look at a picture of either a slice of chocolate cake or a flower under the guise of a memory test.
The Utrecht University researchers then questioned the students about any plans to eat more healthily before offering them a choice between a chocolate or oatmeal cookie.
Women shown the cake picture made healthy eating a higher priority than those shown the flower.
They were also significantly more likely to pick the healthier option of the oatmeal cookie, New Scientist reports.
Researcher Floor Kroese said feelings of guilt may help strengthen resolve against temptation.
She said: ‘Food temptations do not always trigger indulgence.
‘It seems that seeing a food temptation reminded people of their goal to watch their weight and helped them act accordingly.’
She said that sticking pictures of tempting foods on the fridge door may help to bring weight-watching goals to mind.
But pictures pinned up should be of the dieter’s favourite forbidden treat, as anything less could backfire and lead to a raid on the biscuit tin.
Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioural studies at the University of Chicago, agreed that looking at pictures of cakes and other sweet treats could benefit slimmers.
‘In moderation, this positive impact of food temptations will overcome the negative impact – the urge to indulge,’ she said.
Previous research has suggested that it is possible to eat chocolate and lose weight, as long as it is early in the day.
Women who ate a big breakfast, complete with a generous slab of chocolate, lost more weight than those who started the day with a small breakfast.
They were also less likely to pile the pounds back on.
The researchers said starting the day with a sweet treat could curb later cravings for calorie-rich foods
Source: Mail Online. 18th. Aug.2009