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Craving for a bar of chocolate? Pausing for just 25 seconds before buying your favourite sweet treat can be enough to curb the desire and make you choose a more healthy snack, a new study has found. Scientists installed countdown timers on vending machines in the US, forcing customers who had ordered chocolate or other unhealthy products to wait 25 seconds before the items became available. They were able to change their mind and select a healthy snack at any point during the countdown, which would then become instantly available, meanwhile those who selected something healthy in the first instance were not forced to wait at all, researchers said. "Having to wait for something makes it less desirable, said Brad Appelhans, who led the research at the Rush University Medical Centre in the US. Over 14 months, researchers found that the delay prompted up to a five per cent increase in the purchase of healthy snacks. Previous interventions to try and reduce the harm caused by the easy availability of sugary snacks have focused on the complete removal of such products, or the machines altogether. "Research shows that humans strongly prefer immediate gratification, and this preference influences choices and behaviour in daily life," Appelhans was quoted as saying by 'The Telegraph'. "We wanted to see if we could use this preference for immediate gratification to improve people's vending machine snack choices," he said.
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