To eat or not to eat? Mental budgets help winning diet battles

Updated: Nov 19, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: Ever felt like you are
losing the battle with a triple-chocolate cake, don`t worry
just set a "mental budget" as a new study claimed that it
helps in controlling consumption.

According to researchers Parthasarathy Krishnamurthy
from University of Houston and Sonja Prokopec from ESSEC
Business School, France, one can rein in overeating by setting
a mental budgets, Journal of Consumer Research reported.

"For those who wish to cut out those desserts, our
research suggests some simple tips. First, it is important to
have a mental budget. At the very least, it allows you to keep
track of how you are doing with respect to your goal," they

They added, "Second, make sure the budget works as a
limit rather than a licence for the consumption behaviour. To
do this, it is important to have an active goal of controlling
the consumption."

Krishnamurthy said, "There are some behaviours that
people try to limit but have trouble doing so. Even as one
aims to curtail consumption of sugars and fat, one ends up
consuming the tiramisu or the triple-chocolate cake. Such
discrepancies between one`s goals and actual behaviours
represent instances of self-control failure".

The authors conducted several studies where they
encouraged some participants to set mental budgets and
compared them to people who did not set budgets. They examined
their consumption of sweet treats, and they discovered that
they controlled over-eating.

Bureau Report