Science and Weight Loss -Day 2: the Supermarket is Out to Get Me

By Michael Edmonds 30/01/2012 13

Well one day in and according to the scales at the gym I’m now down 700 g to 89.5 kg. Of course the thing to be aware of is weight does tend to fluctuate anyway so a single reading isn’t really useful. Science usually focuses on patterns so we will see how it goes after a weeks time.

I was at the supermarket yesterday, and conscious of what I was buying, noticed some of the many psychological tricks they use to try and make you buy more. I’ve noticed over the past year or so, for example, that promotions selling two items for a reduced price is a very common technique (especially with biscuits). While this is great for large families, for those living by themselves or as a couple, these really does encourage one to purchase far more than is needed.

In fact the whole concept of “saving” due to a discounted price is a very cunning one. How many people look to see how much the item has been reduced by? I actually found a packet of biscuits that was advertised as “on sale” but when I looked closely the price had been reduced by 1 cent! Ridiculous.

Also tried the whole “drinking water to quench hunger” approach yesterday. Found it extremely uncomfortable and won’t be doing that again.

For those who are interested I’ve been having porridge with berries and trim milk  for breakfast, a salad and chicken filo for lunch and it will be chicken nachos for dinner plus have been snacking on rockmelon and honeydew melon. I’ve been cutting back portion size slightly from what I’m used to and avoiding cakes, biscuits and chocolate my usual weaknesses.

13 Responses to “Science and Weight Loss -Day 2: the Supermarket is Out to Get Me”

  • I recall reading about an actual scientific study into drinking water as an appetite suppressor. It found that drinking water instead of, or before eating didn’t help much, but drinking water after eating made a measurable difference.

    I don’t have a link to give you, though. And google didn’t help — it just got me lots of links about how drinking water during eating causes cancer, and drinking water after eating interferes with your digestion.

    (pretty sure both of those are false)

  • John,

    Actually that is a good point. Maybe it relates to a tv report I saw were food when made into a soup by just adding water was more hunger quenching because it took longer to move out of the stomach.
    As an interesting aside when I was working with a Frenchman overseas he told me that in France they tend not to drink water when eating food ( though not sure how much wine was consumed :-). )

  • Interesting progress report.

    I think the theory behind the water is to fill the stomach, because as it starts to feel fill the physiological response is to release hormones that cutoff the hunger reflex. I’m not sure how it would work in practice- I suspect a soup would be better at triggering this (because unlike water, your body should be registering that you are getting actual food).

  • Chthoniid,

    If I remember correctly the soup in the programme I saw was quite thick and therefore occupied the stomach for a substantial period of time, longer in fact than the meal. I suspect that the stomach clears water quite quickly, whereas a thick liquid leaves more slowly.

    Mind you, it seems to me that my stomach clears itself quite quickly. Often half an hour after eating even something substantial like porridge I am often starting to get hungry again.

    Weight today = 89.9 kg. Have been fairly good. Had to go to a meeting with light refreshments for lunch but limited the quantiity I ate to three small sandwiches and two small savouries.

  • Thanks Darcy,

    You’ve just reminded me that I’m not only overweight but middle aged as well 🙂
    An interesting couple of articles. I guess one of the challenges around food and diets is that everyone will respond slightly differently, which is where the statistics come in useful for identifying a mean benefit (or not)

  • Michael- I was thinking that soup would have carbs etc that would trigger feeding physiological responses to digest food, and then feedbacks would kick in to curb the hunger (based on stomach distension). Water wouldn’t trigger this physiological response so the feedback from stomach distension wouldn’t kick in. In short, your body knows it hasn’t been fed so it’s not going to be tricked by mere water.

    Why is being middle-aged an issue?

  • Chthoniid

    Nothing wrong with being any particular age, just the term middle aged has some popular and negative misconceptions associated with it. Though I did see something on the news last night about some research that shows on average we reach our peak mental skills post 40 years old 🙂