Gobbling extra stuffing: Willpower no match for cheap food, big portions

Ditching the diet for Thanksgiving? Turkey with all the fixings isn't the only temptation causing would-be dieters to miss their goals, according to a new Cornell University review article that finds powerful environmental cues are subconsciously bending willpower every day.

"We're slaves to our environment," said David Levitsky, professor of and of psychology at Cornell, who co-authored the article with graduate student Carly Pacanowski.

The article, "Free Will and the Obesity Epidemic," will be published in an upcoming print edition of the journal Public Health Nutrition.

Levitsky and Pacanowski analyzed hundreds of articles on eating behavior and found forces that individuals have no control over are heavily influencing the obesity epidemic in the United States. These forces include cheap food prices and ease of access to . Social factors such as seeing others eat are also strong stimulants, Levitsky said, and have taken on more strength in the past 50 to 60 years, as restaurant dining becomes more frequent.

The article finds emerged as one of the most powerful links to overeating. "And it's not just the amount you put on your plate, but also the package size from which the food comes determines how much you will eat," Levitsky said.

The article suggests dieters can weigh themselves and graph the results on a daily basis to counter these forces because it boosts one's awareness of unconscious eating. It also suggests that the government plays a role in combating the by subsidizing , making low-calorie foods cheaper.

More information: http://bit.ly/sYl5hJ

Related Stories

Eating a lighter lunch can prompt weight loss

date Aug 23, 2011

Losing weight without dieting, going hungry or using an expensive high-protein liquid diet can be as simple as eating a smaller lunch, reports a new Cornell study that is online and will be published in the journal Appetite in Oct ...

Examining obesity: What should we eat?

date Jul 24, 2007

By reviewing thousands of research reports, UC scientists were able to pin down four factors that are most likely to cause overweight and obesity in America: the consumption of dietary fat, sweetened beverages and restaurant ...

Habit makes bad food too easy to swallow

date Sep 01, 2011

Do you always get popcorn at the movies? Or snack while you're on the couch watching television? A new paper by USC researchers reveals why bad eating habits persist even when the food we're eating doesn't taste good. The ...

Recommended for you

Europe's police crack massive horsemeat trafficking ring

date 21 hours ago

Police from seven European countries detained 26 people in a crackdown on a horsemeat trafficking ring two years after a tainted meat scandal that rocked the continent, the EU's judicial agency Eurojust said Saturday.

Text messaging useful for reaching 'at-risk' teens about sex

date Apr 24, 2015

Text messaging that connects teens with sexual health educators is effective for delivering sexual health information, according to a recent study in The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.The ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.