Swallowing A Lie May Aid In Weight Loss, Research Suggests
In their battle against the bulge, desperate dieters have tried drugs, surgery, exercise, counseling, creams and even electrical fat-burning belts. Now some psychologists have a new idea: Lying. A team led by psychologist Elizabeth Loftus of UC Irvine found that it could persuade people to avoid fattening foods by implanting unpleasant childhood memories about the food -- even though the event never happened. In a paper published in today's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team said it successfully turned people off strawberry ice cream, and in earlier studies it has done the same with pickles and hard-boiled eggs -- in each case, by manipulating the subjects to believe the foods made them sick when they were children. The scientists say they have also successfully implanted positive opinions about asparagus by convincing subjects that they once loved the vegetable. The method, if perfected, could induce people to eat less of what they shouldn't and more of what they should, Loftus said. Good memories about fruits and vegetables could be implanted, and bad ones on low-nutrient, high- calorie foods.