The Diet Detective: 5 Weight Loss Mistakes to Avoid

Names Can be Deceiving

"I'll have the salad." Really? Are you sure? Names can be deceiving. According to research appearing in the Journal of Consumer Research, "Dieters are so involved with trying to eat virtuously that they are more likely than non-dieters to choose unhealthy foods that are labeled as healthy."

Participants in one study were presented with a mixture of vegetables, pasta, salami and cheese served on a bed of fresh romaine lettuce." The item was identified either as "salad" or as "pasta." When it was called pasta, dieters perceived it as less healthy.

In another study, participants were given samples of a product that was labeled either "fruit chews" or "candy chews." "Dieters perceived the item with an unhealthy name (candy chews) to be less healthful and less tasty than non-dieters," the authors write. As a result, dieters consumed more of the confections when they were called "fruit chews."
Makes sense—have you looked at the ingredients in some of those restaurant salads? Often they include ingredients that dieters should avoid, such as meats, cheeses, breads and pasta. How about when pita chips or potato chips are labeled "veggie chips," shakes are called "smoothies" and sugary drinks are named "flavored water?"

"Over time, dieters learn to focus on simply avoiding foods that they recognize as forbidden based on product name," the authors explain. "Thus, dieters likely assume that an item assigned an unhealthy name (for example, pasta) is less healthy than an item assigned a healthy name (for example, salad), and they do not spend time considering other product information that might impact their product evaluations."  

Are You a Night Owl? Late Sleeper? Your Sleeping Habits Might be Packing on Pounds

According to research done at Northwestern University and appearing in the journal Obesity, "People who go to bed late and sleep late eat more calories in the evening, more fast food, fewer fruits and vegetables and weigh more than people who go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier."
In fact, according to the researchers, late sleepers consumed 248 more calories a day. The researchers state that "Human circadian rhythms in sleep and metabolism are synchronized to the daily rotation of the Earth, so that when the sun goes down you are supposed to be sleeping, not eating. When sleep and eating are not aligned with the body's internal clock, it can lead to changes in appetite and metabolism, which could lead to weight gain."

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