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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What is the "What the hell effect"?

This phenomena was studied by Dr Polivy at the University of Toronto. Dieters and non-dieters were tricked to think they had over eaten pizza during the experiment.  The non-dieters ate fewer cookies for dessert, and the dieters ate more cookies.

Why? The researcher explained this as the "what the hell" effect. The dieters, thinking they had already blown their diets thought they might as well make the most of it, and splurg on the cookies for dessert.

The non-dieters, thinking they had overeaten pizza, felt they should take it easy on the dessert.

The moral of the story?  Diets don't work because dieters learn to ignore internal cues like hunger and satiety, because the focus becomes more on  counting calories,  points, and/or portion control. Diets leave little room for instinct, a necessity for long term healthy eating habits.

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