Eating in the dark 'can help weight loss'

Dining in the dark prevents the 'cephalic' stage of digestion causing salivation and the release of gastric juices

Eating in the dark by turning off the lights or wearing a blindfold could help you lose weight, scientists have said.

Dining in the dark appears to work by preventing the "cephalic" stage of digestion, which causes salivation and the release of gastric juices when food is seen, making food literally harder to consume, the Telegraph reports.

A study by the University of Konstanz in Germany blindfolded 50 people with modified ski goggles, while another 40 participants were given no blindfold.

All participants, who were not allowed to eat within two hours of the experiment, were invited to tuck in to three 95g bowls of bowls of cherry, caramel and vanilla ice cream for 15 minutes.

The bowls were then taken away allowing researchers to measure the remaining ice-cream and question participants about how much they thought they had eaten.

Researchers found that, on average, the group able to see their food ate 116g each, while the blindfolded group ate significantly less, at around 105g each.

The blindfolded group also hugely overestimated how much they had eaten, with the blindfolded eaters believing they had consumed 197g of ice cream each on average, compared to 159g for those with no blind fold.  

Scientists believe that not being able to see food on the table allows the body to realise it is full in real-time rather than remembering past experiences when one may have only been satisfied after eating a whole plate of food.

Lead author Dr Britta Renner said: “Visual deprivation caused a pronounced dissociation between actual and perceived intake.

“This may provide an unobtrusive and naturalistic means to change the experience of eating behaviour.

“These results might indicate that vision deprivation increases perceived intake because the estimation of the satiating potential of foods depends more on ‘real-time’ experience than on prior expectations.”

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