Why Diets Fail (not just because of sneaky second biscuits)

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Restraint Theory

Most diets reduce the intake of calories and or fat.  The simple belief being that if you can reduce the intake of calories to below the number of calories being burned off, weight loss will be inevitable. However, research suggests that very often these low-cal diets actually increase the calories consumed. 

Pre-load taste tests

A common measure used to determine *** much food people are consuming. 

Typically participants are given a pre-load meal consisting of either a high-calorie snack such as chocolate or cake or a low-calorie snack such as a cracker.

Researchers then tell the participants that they are going to take part in a taste test and left with a variety of foods to assess; such as biscuits, snacks, ice cream.  Participants are left to do this (supposedly unobserved and in their own time) and asked to assess the foods in terms of saltiness, sweetness etc.  In fact this is a fib!  Researchers are only interested in the amount of food consumed. 

Non-dieters tend to adjust for the earlier pre-load meal.  If they initially ate a high-cal snack they would consume fewer calories during the taste test. 

Dieters on the other hand would eat fewer calories if they had had the low-cal snack but eat lots more if they had consumed the high calorie snack. 

The researchers conclude that dieters often eat less but on other occasions over-compensate by binging, especially if they eat one unhealthy meal.

Does dieting increase food intake?

Klosges et al (1992) looked at the dieting habits of nearly


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