Guilt Makes Food Taste Better


If you have ever wondered why sneaking a piece of chocolate when you’re on a diet is so satisfying, now research has revealed why. A study completed at Northwestern University found that feelings of guilt surrounding a forbidden food or food group can actually improve the way it tastes. Researchers evaluated two groups of twenty women. Both groups were given chocolate bars to eat, and were asked to rate their enjoyment. One group was given reading materials on healthy eating, with images of thin, fit people prior to receiving the candy. The group who read about healthy, fit lifestyles before eating the candy rated their enjoyment 16% higher than those who did not.

Lead researcher Kelly Goldsmith says this is because of the linkage between feelings of guilt and the pleasure center in the brain. When you feel guilty about doing something, you naturally expect that it is something you enjoy. This triggers the brain to expect more pleasure when a little bit of guilt is present in an experience. However, experts warn that these same feelings of pleasure can lead to overeating or binging. Instead, dieticians recommend eating a balanced, low-calorie diet that incorporates your favorite treats. Rather than eliminating high calorie foods like chocolate, cheese and French fries, practice portion control and pair them will healthy foods like grilled chicken or Greek yogurt.

Source courtesy of Women’s Health Magazine. Image courtesy of The Times of India.

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