Dieting 'stressful and makes people irritable and angry'

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'.