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Posts Tagged ‘Dieting’

Paying People to Lose Weight

From Science World Report:

The participants were told to achieve the goal of losing 4 pounds per month up to a predetermined goal weight. The researchers kept track of their body weight every month for almost one year. The researchers told the participants in the incentive groups that they would receive $20 per month if they achieved the goal. And those who failed to achieve the goal would need to pay $20 each month that gets into the bonus pool. Participants in both incentive groups who finished the study were entitled to win the pool by lottery.

The researchers noticed that 62 percent of the participants in the incentive group achieved the goal, while just 26 percent from the non-incentive group hit the target. The mean weight loss of participants from the incentive group was 9.08 pounds and the mean weight loss for the non incentive group was 2.34 pounds.

“The take-home message is that sustained weight loss can be achieved by financial incentives,” lead author Steven Driver, M.D., an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic, said in a press statement. “The financial incentives can improve results, and improve compliance and adherence.”

News for Dieters: Old Habits Die Hard

If you’re trying to lose weight, making a small change might help. A new study (summarized by the BPS Research Digest) finds that using the non-dominant hand can significantly reduce the kind of habitual eating that many indulge in without even noticing.
Psychologists invited 158 subjects to watch movie trailers in either a movie theater or a university department meeting room and provided participants (some habitual popcorn eaters, some not) with either stale or fresh popcorn. They found that “in the cinema setting the habitual popcorn eaters ate just as much of the popcorn when it was stale as when it was fresh.

Another Obesity Explanation: Food Addiction

Some people really are addicted to foods in a similar way others might be dependent on certain substances, like addictive illegal or prescriptions drugs, or alcohol, researchers from Yale University revealed in Archives of General Psychiatry. Those with an addictive-like behavior seem to have more neural activity in specific parts of the brain in the same way substance-dependent people appear to have, the authors explained.

More here.


The demand for calories increases with age, both because one’s income rises and because one’s taste for good, caloric food has been developed over many years of good eating. I didn’t know what an Esterhazy cake was 40 years ago, but now I can’t resist one if it’s on the menu!

Layers of Accountability

In this final installment with (the first two installments can be found here and here), Bruno and I discuss my new seven-step diet plan, The $500 Diet, and how creating “layers of accountability” can enhance your chance of losing weight and keeping it off.

Because It Works

To my mind, WeightWatchers is the industry leader in performing rigorous testing of their services. Under the leadership of Karen Miller-Kovach, its chief scientific officer, it has sponsored several randomized control trials comparing the effectiveness of the WeightWatchers point system to other diet approaches. For example, Miller-Kovach is a co-author of this 2003 JAMA study (which showed that after 2-years WeightWatchers helped overweight dieters lose about 3 percent of their body mass – reducing their average weight from 207 to 201 pounds).
But I’m troubled by the current advertising campaign that accompanies the rollout of the New PointsPlus system.

If at First You Don't Succeed …

Last fall, I saw my recidivist coauthor, Barry Nalebuff, and was struck by how much weight he’d lost. He had a clearly different body shape. I told him he looked great. Barry turned to my spouse (and coauthor) Jennifer Brown and said, “I’m doing it on my own, so I don’t have to use that [expletive]”

Vegetarianism as a Sometimes Thing

I’m toiling away this summer writing a book about commitment contracts. And out of the blue, I received an email from an aspiring economist (who is planning to apply to PhD programs this fall), named Matt Johnson, who has an interesting new wrinkle. Matt writes…

The Fine Line Between Calories and Diets

Starbucks, which may hope its new calorie listings will create demand amongst the calorie conscious, should love graphs like this one from HitWise: As you might expect, the chart shows an increase in online searches for “calories” and “diets” the first week in January, when resolutions are fresh. You might think that an April spike in “calories” searches is simply . . .

A Not-So-Cheap Way to Get Skinny

The Shangri-La staples. A couple of years back, we wrote about the very interesting research of Berkeley psychology professor Seth Roberts, whose self-experimentation included a weight-loss program that was incredibly simple, cheap, and seemingly effective. Later, Seth turned his method into a book called The Shangri-La Diet. The diet is really a simple appetite-suppressing plan whereby you regularly ingest some . . .