Fact: We’ve got the hots for things we can’t have. Bad boys, baskets of puppies, bowls of cookie dough—anything off limits looks pretty damn desirable. But what happens when you throw up the big red X and tell yourself “don't go there, girlfriend”? If it’s in the kitchen, you may derail your diet plans, according to a series of studies done by Arizona State University researchers.
In the first study, students who received negative messages about dessert (ie: “all dessert is bad”) had more positive thoughts about other unhealthy foods like Oreo cookies than those who saw a positive or neutral message on cookies.
And in the second study, students who saw negative messages about unhealthy foods consumed 39 percent more cookies than those who saw a positive message about the snack. Is this a Jedi mind trick or what?
The researchers say that they think people trying to lose weight achieve Cookie Monster status after seeing negatively worded messages because "They feel like their freedom to control their food choices is threatened,” says study author Nguyen Pham. Hmm, interesting.
So, toes this mean you should be walking around telling yourself “brownies are fun! I can have as many as I want”? Not so much.
According to the researchers, a more balanced approach may be the answer. In a third study, students who received both positive and negative messages about unhealthy foods chose 47 percent fewer unhealthy snacks than those who saw the negative message only.
So if you want to cut back on sugar, know the facts about what’s in your food, but never say never. A little cookie never killed nobody.