While several studies have confirmed a variety of ways to lose weight – right from high intensity training to intermittent fasting and portion control, an interesting new study has emphasised on one crucial yet ignored factor when it comes to losing those inches – food order. As per the study, choosing the order in which we consume food may have an impact on how many calories we consume overall.
Researchers from The University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson conducted a series of experiments, the results of which they recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.
Attempting to find out if we would “observe different food choices and different magnitudes of caloric intake if an indulgent option was placed at the beginning, instead of at the end, of a food sequence?”, the scientists ran four experiments for the purpose of the study. They carried out one experiment in a university cafeteria, and the other three by using a mock food delivery website. Doing so, they wanted to find out if or not choosing a healthy or unhealthy dessert at the beginning of a meal, in any way, has an influence on the participants’ next food choice.
After the experiment, it was found that individuals who went for a more indulgent dessert chose less unhealthy mains and sides and, overall, they consumed fewer calories. On an average, those who chose a high-calorie dessert in the beginning of their meal consumed 30 per cent fewer calories than those who selected a healthy dessert first.
“We believe diners who chose the indulgent dessert first picked healthier main and side dishes to make up for their high-calorie dessert,” says lead author Martin Reimann, assistant professor of marketing at UA. He continued, “Diners who picked the healthier dessert may have thought they already had done a good deed for their bodies, so they deserved higher-calorie food farther down the cafeteria line.”
As per Medical News, according to the authors, this is the first study to investigate “the interaction effect of food type and food presentation order on individuals’ sequential food choices and their overall caloric intake.”