With beach season just a month away, it’s time for the annual ritual of starting an ill-fated diet to fit into your swimsuit.
While you might dismiss the words of someone whose profession promotes indulgence, there’s scientific evidence to show that sweet treats can fight hunger. A Yale University research team studying ghrelin, the hormone that regulates hunger, found that a person’s state of mind can influence whether they feel satisfied after a meal.
Study participants were given a 380-calorie milkshake under the pretense that it was a 620 calorie “indulgent shake” or a 140-calorie “sensible shake.” Those who thought they had indulged saw a dramatic decline in ghrelin levels, while those given the “sensible” option had a flat ghrelin response.
“What was most interesting is that the results were somewhat counterintuitive: Consuming the shake thinking it was ‘indulgent’ was healthier,” explained lead author Alia J. Crum.
Bullock-Prado considers diet fads “ineffective at best or dangerous at worst. Nutrition experts will always reaffirm the only tried and true method of dieting is moderation,” adding that “there are ways to modify recipes to add health benefits.” Among her recommendations is switching granulated sugar for palm sugar, which has a lower glycemic index plus additional minerals.
Bullock-Prado says her lean frame is an example of someone who practices what they preach. “I indulge every day. I find that when I deny myself, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what I can’t have,” she says. “If I eat my daily chocolate or slice of cake at 3 p.m., I’m happy and don’t waste my time obsessing – there’s no magic to being healthy, just common sense.”