Business Standard

Calorie counting may harm reasoning ability: Study

Many employers provide indulgent food in meetings to motivate their staff, but that may be having an unintended negative effect

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Counting calories in a slice of pizza? It may harm your reasoning ability!

According to researchers at the University of California at San Diego, Harvard University, and Princeton University, counting calories may negatively impact an individual's ability to focus.

"If you're counting calories, seemingly innocuous reminders of tempting, high-calorie food - such as an empty donut box in the middle of a conference table - can lead to worse performance on difficult tests of attention and reasoning ability," said lead researcher Aimee Chabot.

Many employers often provide indulgent food in meetings with the intention of motivating their staff, but that may be having an unintended negative effect, researchers said.

The researchers suggest that individuals looking to reduce their calorie intake avoid counting calories and instead opt for simpler strategies, such as avoiding added sugars or not eating after 7 pm.

The research is still preliminary, and more data is being collected to replicate the initial results and examine the effect of the presence of actual tempting food on cognitive performance.

The finding was presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Annual Convention in Long Beach, California.

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First Published: Mon, March 02 2015. 17:59 IST