In the book Intuitive Eating by Eveyln Tribole and Elyse Resch, a classic study on dieting psychology was highlighted (and reminded me of Napolean in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure). In real life, I’ve been talking about this study a lot lately, because it is such an interesting example. Here is the section in the book discussing the appetite dysregulation caused by dieting/restrained eating, with a quick video discussion on it. Enjoy! And if I don’t post again before the big day, have a great Thanksgiving! I will probably not eat impressive amounts of food because I’m not on a diet, and overeating is not fun unless you are dieting – then it is orgasmic and food is so good you just can’t stop eating it!
“One of the classic studies involved fifty-seven female college students at Northwestern University. The students were led to believe that the goal of the study was to evaluate the taste of several ice cream samples. The actual purpose of the study was to determine how diet thinking might affect eating after drinking milkshakes. The women were arbitrarily divided into three groups based on the number of eight-ounce milkshakes given (none, one, and two shakes). After drinking the shakes, the subjects were asked to taste and rate three flavors of ice cream. They were allowed to eat as much ice cream as they wanted and ‘taste-tested’ in private to guard against self-consciousness. The researchers saw to it that ample ice cream was provided so that substantial amounts could be eaten without making an appreciable dent in the supply!
Here’s what happened. The nondieters naturally regulated their eating; they ate less ice cream in proportion to the amount of milkshakes consumed. The dieters, however, displayed a dramatic opposite behavior. Those who drank two milkshakes ate the most ice cream – a ‘counterregulation’ effect. The researchers concluded that forcing the dieters to overeat or ‘blow their diet’ caused them to release their food inhibitions. With inhibition banished, restraint was eliminated and the dieters overate the ice cream.”