Regulating Response to Food Cues Helps Maintain Weight Loss

Regulating Response to Food Cues Helps Maintain Weight Loss

Approximately 74% of US adults are overweight or obese. Current weight-loss interventions involve modifying eating and exercise habits or introducing lifestyle changes. Although, in general, these treatments lead to moderate weight loss, many adults usually gain back the weight they’ve lost after they finish the treatment. Therefore, weight maintenance still remains a significant challenge. The authors of a new study examined a newly-designed weight-loss intervention.

Behavioral susceptibility theory supposes genetic susceptibility to obesity, which explains variation in human body weight. The theory implies that responses to food cues are inherited and depend on the environment and the individual. Moreover, additional factors, such as neural changes related to diet, also play a role.

For the abovementioned reasons, experts developed a new intervention that helps people manage their food and satiety responses and maintain weight loss. The research team behind the study performed a trial for this intervention named “regulation of cues” (ROC), which can help regulate the response to food cues and satiety.

According to the results, the treatments based on this intervention might be helpful for people who have high food responsiveness in maintaining the weight they’ve lost. As a matter of fact, some of the most effective weight loss programs are already using similar ideas.

The participants in the study were divided into four groups:

  • ROC
  • BWL (behavioral weight loss)
  • ROC+ (ROC combined with BWL)
  • AC (active comparator).

The members of the ROC group learned how to observe their desire for food before being exposed to foods they crave in order to exercise their new capabilities. In addition, they were educated on several associated topics, for instance, planning meals, daily eating patterns, reducing stress, and managing time.

After two years, the researchers assessed the groups and discovered that the participants in the first three groups managed to lower their BMI more than those in the last group. This fact is significant as ROC does not require calorie restriction. Furthermore, all participants regained at least some weight during the treatment, except those in the first group.

These findings suggest that the new treatment that relies on the regulation of food cues may be particularly beneficial for people who can’t resist food easily. However, the authors plan to further study this subject to verify the initial results.

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