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Researchers at Bristol University found that the memory of what we have eaten affects our appetite, potentially enabling dieters to lose weight without feeling constantly hungry.
Both men and women participated in the study, with each being shown either a large or a small bowl of soup. Before tucking in though, some of the soup was removed from or added to each bowl without the participants' knowledge.
Those who believed they had eaten a smaller portion began feeling hungry immediately afterwards, while those who thought they had enjoyed a sizeable portion felt more satisfied and experienced fewer food cravings.
Research Jeff Brunstrom, whose study was published in the journal PLoS ONE, explained: "Obesity remains a major public health concern. Therefore understanding controls of energy should be high priority.
"This is showing that the amount of hunger we experience between meals isn't a simple product of the amount or type of food that we actually consumed - there is some sort of psychology involved."
Professor Brunstrom's previous research has suggested that any distractions while eating could also leave us feeling hungry after eating, which could also be linked to our memory of the meal.
So if you're trying to lose weight, avoiding the TV dinners and investing in small plates that make your meal look larger could be the key to success.
What do you think? Could weight loss success be all in the mind? Leave your comments below...