My bagel addiction has been well established on this blog. It is an unshakeable constant in my life, despite several attempts to kick the habit. But what if there were a new way to ditch the delicious carb-filled morning staple? There might just be.

A new study, “Harnessing the power of disgust: a randomized trial to reduce high-calorie food appeal through implicit priming” by researchers from the University at Colorado Medical School shows that “(implicit priming) IP can be used to alter high-calorie food preferences, which could promote healthier eating habits.” 

Simply put, we can be grossed out of eating high calorie foods.

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Food choices often rely on automatic decision-making processes without lengthy consideration of nutritional value, calories, or health impact. For example, most grocery store decisions are made in a matter of seconds, with an estimated 40% of all money spent consisting of impulsive rather than planned purchases.

The researchers sought to exploit this impulsive behavior by establishing a negative association between the foods we buy impulsively, with things that typically gross us out. Think bugs on food.

Figure 2 : Experimental Design

Figure 2 : Experimental Design

However they didn’t just show a picture next to a picture, they rapidly projected the image and just as quickly removed it before showing a picture of food.

Though it is a small study, they reported significant differences between the group treated with negative associations, to those who were not. This study reminds me a little bit of the Matrix, where people could be loaded with skills and knowledge. How cool would it be to sit in a chair, and an hour later no longer have a desire for chicken wings and french fries.

If the authors of this research finds this post, I’d glady sign up for the next trial. I am desperate to conquer my bagel addiction.