New Year's resolutions are all well and good, but sometimes someone brings cake to work and it's TOO MUCH to resist. But while the odd treat is perfectly ok, falling down a slippery slope of sugary goodness is bad for both your waistline AND your overall health.
Junk food can be addictive, and if you're struggling to shake the habit, you're certainly not alone. However, new scientific research has found a simple way to help us all eat less, and it takes absolutely zero willpower.
According to a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the easiest thing to do in situations where you really can't resist is simply to serve yourself, rather than accepting a portion from someone else. The results of the study found that people eat less unhealthy food when they're in control of how big their portion is.
To carry out the study, researchers conducted five different experiments on volunteers who were brought into a room where Reese's Pieces were offered. They then tried out different serving methods, including the chocolates being served in one big bowl or small, individual ones. They found that none of the volunteers helped themselves to the big bowl, but a third ate the treats in individual portions.
"We find that when participants are given the choice of whether or not to consume snacks that they perceive as relatively unhealthy, they have a greater inclination to consume these snacks when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food," study authors Linda Hagen, Aradhna Krishna, and Brent McFerran said.
They added that this is probably because being less involved with portion sizes allows us to "reject responsibility" and feel less guilty about eating unhealthily.
Interestingly, the same theory did not apply for healthy foods. Go figure.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.