Staring at pictures of pizza might not sound like the best idea when you're trying to stay motivated on a diet but new research suggests it could be just the thing to stop you caving in to temptation.
Scientists have found that looking at images of high-carb foods can make the food you're eating taste better - even if that's a plate of greens.
The researchers from the Nestlé Research Centre showed volunteers images of food either high in carbohydrates, such as pizza or pastry, or low in carbs such as watermelon then tested their taste perception using an electric pulse, which stimulated the tongue but had a neutral flavour.
Brain images were also analysed which tracked the food enjoyment of the participants.
Despite experiencing the same flavour, those who had seen the high-carb pictures enjoyed the taste more than those who saw the low-carb images.
Researcher, Dr Johannes le Coutre, said, as reported by the Daily Mail: "The results provide evidence that high calorie food cues enhance the hedonic evaluation of subsequently presented tastes.
"The study provides novel insights into cross-modal sensory interactions underlying taste and probably food evaluation and consumption."
The researchers hope the findings could have implications for the treatment of appetite disorders.
Eating behaviour expert and Author of Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink, Ph. D. suggests the following simple tips to programme your mind into eating less.
People tend to over-serve onto larger plates, and because people consume an average of 92% of what they serve themselves, larger plates lead to larger food intake. A two-inch difference in plate diameter (from 12" to 10") would result in 22% fewer calories being served.
The bigger the package you pour from, the more you will eat -20 to 30% more for most foods. Repackage your jumbo boxes into smaller Tupperware containers, and serve up your food in smaller dishes.
Choose a smaller spoon or even eat with chopsticks. Even when nutrition experts were given a larger spoon, they served themselves 31% more, up to 14.5% when they were given a larger serving spoon.
For lunch or dinner, half the plate should be vegetables and fruits and the other half should be protein and starch. This will ensure you're filling up on the right foods.
You are more likely to reach for healthy food if you store it at the front of the middle shelf in your fridge where it's most prominent and easy to access. In the same token, sweet temptations will be less of a temptation if they're out of sight at the back of your cupboard.