Attack of the Food Choices

Too many food choices may lead to more obesity

(RxWiki News) Quick - what’s your favorite food? It can be hard to choose one with so many options. So many choices are actually making it difficult for Americans to choose healthier alternatives.

A new study finds that having an abundance of food choices can lead to people becoming overweight or obese. Americans also may be addicted to the variety.

"Monotonous eating may be better for losing weight."

Lead author, Leonard H. Epstein, Ph.D., from the State University of New York at Buffalo, found that women tend to eat less after eating a certain food over and over. The researchers called this behavior “habituation.”

The researchers worked with two different groups of women: one group was not obese and in the other, all participants were obese.. The women either ate macaroni-and-cheese every day or once a week for five weeks.

Both groups of women who were given macaroni-and-cheese every day ate less by the end of the study because of habituation. The other women who ate macaroni-and-cheese only once a week did not reduce the amount of food eaten.

Too many choices made available for people are inhibiting habituation and reinforcing overeating, says Nicole M. Avena, Ph.D., a research assistant professor from the University of Florida, and Mark S. Gold., M.D., chairman of the psychiatry department at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Limit your choices to avoid temptation and have better control of your appetite, Avena and Gold conclude.

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Review Date: 
July 21, 2011