The hungry bypass veggies for starches, proteins

June 29, 2012 By Stacey Shackford, Cornell University

(Medical Xpress) -- After going without food for 18 hours, most of us would rather reach for French fries or chicken fingers than green beans or carrots, according to a new study from Cornell's Food and Brand Lab.

The study, published June 25 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, found that 75 percent of participants placed on an 18-hour fast started their next meal with a starch or a protein rather than a vegetable, compared with 44 percent of non-fasting participants.

And most of the calories consumed during that meal came from whichever food they ate first -- participants consumed about 47 percent more calories from the first food they ate compared with other foods.

As part of the study, Brian Wansink, the John Dyson Professor of and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, and postdoctoral researchers Aner Tal and Mitsuru Shimuzu randomly assigned 128 college students to an 18-hour fast (from 6 p.m. to noon the next day) or no fast.

At lunch after the fast, participants ate from a buffet with their choice of two starches (dinner rolls and ), two proteins (chicken fingers and cheese) and two vegetables ( and green beans). Hidden scales recorded the amount of each food item participants ate, and researchers observed the order in which they were consumed.

In the fasting group, 35 percent of participants began their meal with a starch, compared with 13 percent of those who did not fast.

Only a quarter of the fasters ate vegetables first, compared with about half of the people in the control group.

"Even relatively mild food deprivation can alter the foods people choose to eat, potentially leading them to eat starches first and most," Tal said.

is something many people face on different occasions, because of a religious or medical fast, or simply due to the daily hassles of life, which might lead people to skip meals, he noted.

Based on the results of the study, Tal suggests that hospitals encourage fasting patients to first eat lower calorie fruits and vegetables and to make nutrient-rich foods attractive and convenient to guide them toward healthier choices and away from overloading on higher calorie foods.

Similarly, people who miss meals as part of their daily lives should be careful about the foods they are exposed to following a fast.

"Meal skippers should avoid breaking their fast with high-calorie items to reduce the risk of calorie overload," he said.

Explore further: Considering what Batman would eat helps kids' diets

Related Stories

Considering what Batman would eat helps kids' diets

May 30, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- In the ongoing battle to get children to eat healthfully, parents may do well invoking the names of superheroes to come to their rescue, say Cornell researchers.

The more types of foods served, the more you'll eat: study

March 13, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- The wider the variety of foods served at a meal, the more a person will eat, new Cornell research shows. Conversely, having a "one-pot" dish, such as a soup, pasta, stew or stir-fry, will cut down on the ...

Recommended for you

Group suggests pushing age of adolescence to 24

January 22, 2018
A small group of researchers with the Royal Children's Hospital in Australia is suggesting that it might be time to change the span of years that define adolescence—from the current 10 to 19 to a proposed 10 to 24 years ...

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

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.