You can be the healthiest person on the planet, but when a junk-food craving hits, it’s difficult (impossible?) to resist the call of that deliciously sugary/salty/fried food. There are ways to cut out certain triggers, like late-night munching or post-workout snacks, but if you find yourself with a delicious-looking apple pie in front of you—and one that, yeah, you’re definitely going to want to slice into—what to do? According to a new study, you should just straight up serve yourself the dessert that you want.
The research, which is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Research, found that people eat less junk food when they fill their own plate, as opposed to having someone else serve it to them.
People eat less junk food when they fill their own plate, as opposed to having someone else serve it to them.
Conducted over the course of five experiments, researchers had volunteers enter a lab where there were Reese’s Pieces on a table up for grabs. When the candy was served in a bowl for people to scoop themselves, no one did so; if they were served in individual cups, roughly one-third of the participants took some.
Authors of the study wrote that people seem to “have a greater inclination to consume these snacks when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food.” Interestingly, this isn’t the case for healthy snacks. “We suggest that this behavior occurs because being less physically involved in serving one’s food allows participants to reject responsibility for unhealthy eating and thus to feel better about themselves following indulgent consumption.”
Of course, if you’ve already decided that you want to cut out something like sugar entirely, serving yourself doesn’t exactly help the cause—luckily, there’s a foolproof detox plan that might just sweeten the deal.