Weight loss is often on many peoples minds as the festive season comes around, with numerous parties and events.
Many may feel that using diet plans can help them shed the weight, as well as incorporating exercise into their daily routine.
A new study has found that the way in which people see their meal can, in fact, cause them to pile on the pounds.
It all comes down to how snacks are seen within a diet.
According to a study in research journal Appetite, using the word “snack” can have a big effect on peoples eating patterns.
Researchers from the University of Surrey analysed 80 female students on their method of eating.
They were all given a plate of pasta to eat, with some of the group being given the food labelled as a “snack” whilst others were given the food labelled as a “meal”.
The study then found that those eating the meal that was called a snack ended up eating more than those who had it labelled as a meal when offered unhealthy foods afterwards.
The report stated: “The results showed main effects of label and place with participants consuming significantly more sweet mass (specifically chocolate) at the taste test when the preload had been labelled a ‘snack’.”
Lead author professor Jane Odgen commented on the findings: “What we have found is that those who are consuming snacks are more likely to over eat as they may not realise or even remember what they have eaten.
“To overcome this we should call our food a meal and eat it as meal, helping make us more aware of what we are eating so that we don’t overeat later on.”
She states that it shows how eating patterns and behaviour are can be created within the mind: “These results support the notion of eating behaviour as a psychological process.”
Eating certain foods at particular time son the day can also help lose weight.
Adding fibre and protein into a lunchtime meal will help keep dieters fuller for long, with 10 grams of fibre and 15 grams of protein minimum.
Anyone looking to stay healthy should also avoid high street meal deals when eating at lunchtime.
Some have been found to contain as much as thirty teaspoons of sugar.