Dieting 'stressful and makes people irritable and angry'

Dieting 'stressful and makes people irritable and angry'

Researchers have found that the effort involved in exerting self-control over eating can lead to an aggressive frame of my mind -- and even a preference for violent films, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

They have based their findings on an analysis of a set of three experiments.
In one experiment, people who choose an apple instead of a chocolate bar were more likely to choose movies with anger and revenge themes than milder movies.

In another experiment, participants who exerted financial restraint by choosing a gift certificate for groceries over one for a spa service showed more interest in looking at angry faces rather than at fearful ones.

In the third experiment, dieters had more favourable opinions toward a public policy message that used an anger-inducing appeal -- if funds are not increased for police training, more criminals will escape prison -- than they did toward a sad message.

Finally, participants who chose a healthy snack over a tastier less-healthy one were more irritated by a marketer's message that came across as dictatorial,the findings revealed.

"We set out to examine whether exerting self- control can indeed lead to a wide range of angry behaviours and preferences subsequently, even in situations where such behaviours are quite subtle," said lead authors David Gal of Northwestern University.

Added co-author Wendy Liu of University of California: "Research has shown that exerting self-control makes people more likely to behave aggressively toward others and people on diets are known to be irritable and quick to anger.

"Public policy-makers need to be more aware of the potential negative emotions resulting from encouraging the public to exert more self control in daily choices.

"Instead behavioural interventions might rely on a broader range of methods to foster positive behaviours toward long-term goals."

The findings have been published in the 'Journal of Consumer Research'.

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