People who remember their last meal as being pleasurable and fulfilling are likely to eat less at their next meal, according to new research.
That’s the buzz from a new University of Liverpool analysis, in which researchers looked at 24 previous studies on the impact of mindfulness, attention, memory and distractions on how much food we eat.
Unsurprisingly, they found that being distracted while eating leads people to eat more. But remembering past meals before the next helped lower food consumption.
In general, just the act of recalling past meals was enough to make study participants eat less at the next (there’s that mindfulness business again). Those who recalled their last meal as being filling and satisfying were especially likely to eat less.
The results make intuitive sense, no? Think about the last time you had a really unsatisfying lunch—a particularly boring salad, or something stupid you had to grab on the go. Come dinner, didn’t you want (consciously or unconsciously) to make up for that less than stellar meal?
Humans react badly to hunger, both physiologically and psychologically . Previous research has shown we make poorer food choices when we’re feeling famished. And anyone who’s ever been on a diet knows how deprivation makes the mouth grow fonder.
But just as dangerous as deprivation to healthy eating habits might be distraction. Not only did being distracted during a meal lead to eating more immediately, it also led to eating more at following meals, too, the researchers found.