The 2-minute rule for cravings

The science:

When you’re tempted by a rich treat, new research suggests you should wait a couple minutes before giving in. For the study, people were exposed to the scents of cookies and pizza. When people smelled these foods for less than 30 seconds, they often indulged. But when the odor lingered for an extended period of time, they were more likely choose healthy items like strawberries and apples.

Expert insight:

When you smell something sweet, salty, fried, or otherwise satisfying, it triggers feelings of pleasure in the reward center of your brain, says study author Dipayan Biswas, Ph.D., a professor in the marketing department at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Previous research shows that taste and scent are strongly connected. Simply smelling an indulgent food can partially satisfy your craving and make you less inclined to want to eat it, Biswas explains.THE

The bottom line:

Smell a tempting food for at least two minutes before choosing to indulge. In Biswas’s research, that’s how long it took for cravings to wear off.

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