Do we have too many options when it comes to food? According to a study published August 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, too many options may be one reason pounds are packed on.
On the flip side, the study found eating the same food over and over lead to boredom and a decrease in caloric intake.
Food Boredom is a Good Thing
Research indicates that repeat exposure to a particular food leads to disinterest. The response is called habituation and can lead to a decrease in caloric intake in the short term.
In the U.S. we are blessed with a wide variety of choices and all we have to do is enter a grocery store. The problem with variety doesn’t necessarily apply to having access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – not too many people can say they are overweight because they ate too many greens! – the problem comes from the overwhelming abundance of low-fat, low-nutrient options.
There is a ‘food addiction hypothesis’ that proposes some people overeat because they are not sensitive to normal habituation and require even more of a food to trigger disinterest.
There has not been a lot of research in this area to determine if the habituation process is different between individuals of a healthy weight versus those who are overweight.
The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition aimed to study the long-term habituation in obese and non-obese women.
Habituation Equals Fewer Calories