Monday, May 21, 2012

Could Your Phone's CAMERA Help You Lose Weight?

One study seems to suggest so!

When people in a small study snapped a picture of everything they ate for 1 week, something interesting happened.  They took better stock of their meals -- and ate less or ate more healthfully because of it.

Worth 1000 Words (and Calories) 
Just think of it as a digital version of a food diary -- but it forces you to think about what you are eating before you put it in your mouth, instead of after.

In the study, the simple act of taking a picture caused people to pay closer attention to how much they were eating, how diverse their food choices were, or how healthful the food was.  And that extra thought and attention actually helped them eat better.  Here are some more slim-down tricks to try:

  • Pace yourself ::  Speedy eaters in one study who typically noshed until they felt full were 3 times more likely to be overweight than people who ate at a more leisurely pace. Speed demons also consistently consume more calories overall.
  • Be regular ::  Research shows that people who eat meals regularly throughout the day tend to have smaller waists than people who sometimes skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Not only do they weigh less and have smaller waists, but they are also less likely to develop metabolic syndrome or experience insulin resistance -- conditions that can pave the way for heart disease and diabetes.
  • Learn to decode labels ::  In a study of NYC fast food patrons, customers who looked at posted nutrition information while waiting in line tended to make more calorie-conscious purchases when they stepped up to order. When calorie counts for select menu items were posted, customers who reported seeing the information ended up eating 52 fewer calories.

So next time you start to eat, take out your phone. . . and start snapping your way to slimmer hips and a flatter belly!

References ::
Think before you eat: photographic food diaries as intervention tools to change dietary decision making and attitudes. Zepeda, L., Deal, D., International Journal of Consumer Studies 2008 Aug 27;32(6):692-698.
The joint impact on being overweight of self reported behaviours of eating quickly and eating until full: cross sectional survey. Maruyama, K. et al., BMJ 2008 Oct 21;337:a2002.
Eating meals irregularly: a novel environmental risk factor for the metabolic syndrome. Sierra-Johnson, J. et al., Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 2008 Jun;16(6):1302-1307.
Purchasing behavior and calorie information at fast-food chains in New York City, 2007. Bassett, M. T. et al., American Journal of Public Health 2008 Aug;98(8):1457-1459.
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