Brain-training app for weight loss

Ask anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight and they’ll probably tell you that the most difficult part of dieting is eliminating cravings for unhealthy foods and drinks.

Even with the best of intentions, a lack of discipline makes it nigh on impossible to maintain a healthy weight. All the advice, diet apps, weight trackers and personal trainers in the world won’t make it any easier.

But a free online brain-training app, FoodT is a simple computer game that, if played for just 10 minutes a day, four days a week, can effectively eliminate bad eating behaviour.

Developed in partnership with Psynovigo and funded by the Wellcome Trust and University of Exeter, FoodT was designed to help people who struggle with junk food and sugary drinks to resist the temptation.

A team of psychologists at the University of Exeter decided to target the impulses that drive unhealthy eating, by studying brain reward responses and behavioural patterns. The result was a new approach to weight loss – an app to train people’s impulsive responses to foods.

According to a report from the University of Exeter, by repeatedly playing FoodT, your brain builds up certain associations with unhealthy foods, such as chocolate and soft drinks, which makes these easier to resist and helps you to stop craving them.

The first study of FoodT, consisting of 83 adults, revealed that those who played the game the recommended four times a week ate an average of 220 calories less per day.

FoodT researchers are currently trying to raise funds for a touchscreen version of the app, because, at the moment, FoodT only works with keyboards.

Read more about FoodT

Why not try playing FoodT for yourself and tell us what you think of it?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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