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The science of resisting diet temptations

8/24 10:17:10

According to a new study, chronic dieters tend to overeat when the regions of their brain that balance impulsive behaviour and self-control become disrupted.

Stealing your attention

It’s said that what you think about is what you become. And when it comes to resisting diet temptations, it also rings true!

In a Dartmouth neuroimaging study, 31 women who were chronic dieters completed an attention-control task that did or did not deplete their self-control.

They then underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while viewing images of high-calorie appetising food. The results showed that the dieters whose self-control had been depleted through the attention-control task had greater activity in the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain related to food rewards. They also had reduced connectivity between this area and the inferior frontal gyrus, a region implicated in self-control.

In other words, if you allow those diet temptations to grab your attention, they will disrupt your self-control!

How to resist diet temptations

The findings, which appear in the journal Psychological Science, indicate that chronic dieters will have more success if they avoid situations that challenge their self-control.

So the next time your friends want to meet at a deli known for their amazing confectioneries, don’t fool yourself into thinking you'll just have a coffee! Surrounded by mouth-watering treats and delicious looking cakes, it’s highly likely that your resistance will crumble. Instead, suggest meeting for a fun, social and yet fat-burning activity, like a hike.

Recommended reading: 6 Reasons to avoid refined sugar

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