Can mindful eating help weight loss efforts?

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Encouraging patients to pay special attention to how food tastes could help them lose weight.

Latest data from the OECD suggests the obesity epidemic has spread further in the past five years, although at a slower pace than before. More than one in two adults and one in six children are now overweight or obese in the OECD area.

Efforts continue to find new ways to address the epidemic and scientists believe they may have identified a novel approach to the issue through a programme that focuses on mindful eating or the practice of increasing one’s awareness and focus on eating. This includes planning meals and snacks, paying special attention to how food tastes and eating as a singular activity as opposed to eating while doing other activities.

A total of 80 participants were part of a randomised controlled trial which evaluated the effectiveness of an online, 15-week weight management programme called Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less (ESMMWL). Participants that completed ESMMWL lost more weight (1.9kg) than participants in the control group (0.3kg). They also had a significantly larger increase in their mindfulness scores than the control group. The authors said the results suggest a beneficial association between mindful eating and weight loss.

The findings were presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity .

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