If you’ve ever fasted before a medical test, it might suddenly seem to you as if every TV commercial is advertising some juicy burger, or stuffed crust pizza with cheese oozing from every square inch.
Researchers with the University of British Columbia and the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris have discovered that food marketing can tempt people with weight issues to eat unhealthy things, more than it tempts others — but losing weight can break that spell.
Using three groups of people — those who were a normal weight, obese people who weren’t considering weight loss surgery, and a group who were going to get weight loss surgery — the scientists noted a “before and after” that wouldn’t be seen in a mirror.
The scientists had the subjects estimate calorie counts for various foods, and also what the researchers “marketed” to the subjects as a “medium” portion size of french fries. Those of normal weight correctly estimated the calories in many foods — and that the portion size was, in reality, a “large” — but those with obesity issues could not.
However, after surgery, the subjects who underwent the procedure nailed the test, meaning their eating estimates were more in line with someone without any eating issues.
Had it been otherwise, it could have helped prove obesity was somehow a predisposition or psychological tendency, which may have meant keeping weight off would be far more difficult.
That wasn’t the case, says study author Dr. Yann Cornil in a university press release. “[O]ne of the positive things is that after significant weight loss, people become less responsive to marketing, such that it is more sustainable to remain at a lower body mass index.”