(The benefits of) guilt free chocolate eating

chocolate syrup and  cake sweet dessert foodFor the lovers of chocolate, a study that was recently published in the Appetite journal may be interesting, because it has something to say about guilt free chocolate eating.

If you habitually guilt-trip yourself over eating your favorite treat foods, it may even help you let go of your guilt.

The researchers set to investigate the connection between the participant’s feelings to a “prototypical forbidden food item” like chocolate cake and your eating behavior, attitudes and even your weight loss outcome. The researchers divided the participants to two groups – people who associated chocolate cake to guilt and people who associated it with celebration.

The results were pretty straightforward. Feeling guilt over eating your favorite foods doesn’t help you in any way. Here is a quote from the abstract:

This study did not find any evidence for adaptive or motivational properties of guilt. Participants associating chocolate cake with guilt did not report more positive attitudes or stronger intentions to eat healthy than did those associating chocolate cake with celebration.

Moreover, the people who reported a weight loss intention and associated chocolate with celebration, were better at losing weight over a three month period than the participants who associated chocolate with guilt.

I hope you enjoy your chocolate guilt free during the holidays.  🙂

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  1. It doesn’t actually surprise me I guess…. The more I feel guilty about something the more likely I am to deal with the guilt by binge-eating more. I suspect those who don’t suffer the guilt also eat more mindfully (less secretively!).


  2. Satu says:

    It didn’t surprise me either. I think that guilt and trying to avoid fattening foods works like a curse – the more you try to avoid/restrict, the more you’re likely to indulge, even that doesn’t make any sense. 🙂

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