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

November 16, 2011

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.

Explore further: Eating a lighter lunch can prompt weight loss

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

Related Stories

Eating a lighter lunch can prompt weight loss

August 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 ...

Obesity counseling should focus on neurobehavioral processes, not personal choice, researchers say

August 1, 2011
Current approaches to dietary counseling for obesity are heavily rooted in the notion of personal choice and will power – the ability to choose healthy foods and portion sizes consistent with weight loss while foregoing ...

Habit makes bad food too easy to swallow

September 1, 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

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...

One e-cigarette with nicotine leads to adrenaline changes in nonsmokers' hearts

September 20, 2017
A new UCLA study found that healthy nonsmokers experienced increased adrenaline levels in their heart after one electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) with nicotine but there were no increased adrenaline levels when the study ...

0 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.