New Study: ‘Short Bursts’ of Tetris can Curb Your Appetite

A few minutes of Tetris might be the key to staying away from all your unhealthy food cravings, according to new research

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Looking to eat better? Try three minutes of Tetris.

According to a new study published in the Appetite psychology journal, Tetris might be the key to eating well and keeping our food cravings at bay. In a sample of 119 subjects, researchers found that the visual distraction provided by just three minutes of Tetris was enough to curb food, alcohol, and tobacco cravings by 24 percent. The idea behind the research is based on a theory that suggests the importance of visual imagery in creating food temptations.

During the study, the “natural cravings” of the 119 subjects were measured before the subjects were divided into two groups: the group that got to play Tetris, and the control group. In the latter, participants waited for a game of Tetris to load, which it never did.

After three minutes of Tetris, the test group reported a 24 percent reduction in cravings compared to the control group. Although the success of Tetris as an appetite suppressant is a welcome surprise, this isn't the first time that food and video games have been found to pair well

Professor Jackie Andrade, one of the researchers behind the study, told PsyBlog, “Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualizing what they want and the reward it will bring...  But by playing Tetris, just in short bursts, you are preventing your brain creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades.”

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.

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