Just as the Atkins diet fad goes belly up—the Atkins Nutritionals company filed for bankruptcy on Sunday—a new, scientifically tested anti-obesity technique is making its timely debut. The potential treatment relies not on diets, medications, or workouts but on tricks played on the mind. U.S. researchers say they can put a people off fattening foods by tricking them into believing the foods made them sick as a child. This is achieved by planting false memories of past culinary encounters.
Similar mind games could be deployed around the family dinner table on sweet-toothed children, the study team reports in the Proceedings of the National of Academy of Sciences’ current Online Early Edition. During the study, the researchers told adult volunteers that data suggested they fell ill after eating strawberry ice cream as children—a patent falsehood. Up to 40 percent of the test subjects fell for the deceit and added that they would steer clear of strawberry ice cream in the future.