Taking weight-loss supplements may elicit liberation from dietary control. A laboratory experiment
Yevvon Yi-Chi Chang Appetite Volume 72, 1 January 2014, Pages 8–12
•Taking weight-loss supplements may elicit liberation from dietary control.
•Taking supplements induces perceived progress toward weight reduction.
•Use of weight-loss supplements is closely related to loosened dietary regulation.
Given that changes in diet and exercise habits are difficult to initiate and maintain, the use of weight-loss supplements has become an appealing alternative approach to weight management for many individuals. The current research examined whether the use of weight-loss supplements induced overly optimistic assessments of progress toward weight reduction, leading to psychological abdication of dietary regulation. Participants were randomly assigned to take either an identified placebo or a purported weight-loss supplement (actually the same placebo). Each participant reported perceived progress toward weight reduction following the manipulation. Consumption of snacks in a taste test and choice of sugary drinks were recorded.
The results showed that participants receiving a purported supplement ate more in a taste task and preferred larger quantities of sugar in their reward drinks than did controls. Mediation analysis supported that the perception of progress toward weight reduction contributed to the liberating effect. Using weight-loss supplements may increase perceived progress toward weight reduction but decrease dietary self-regulation. These thought-provoking findings can serve as a basis for educating the public about the myth that they are free to feel liberated from the need to regulate their eating when using weight-loss supplements.
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