Could a videogame helps you lose weight in just a week?

Could a videogame helps you lose weight in just a week?

An online game that claims to help players lose weight and alter bad eating habits has been released.

Researchers from the University of Exeter and Cardiff University have developed a video game that trains the brains of their players in an attempt to make unhealthy foods unappealing.


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Players must avoid images of unhealthy foods - such as cookies - and instead choose images of healthier items in order to win the game. According to the researcher, this trains people to crave unhealthy and calorie-dense foods less .

The game was tested on 41 participants, who were weighed and given food rating tasks and food diaries to complete one week before playing the game. They were then asked to complete four 10-minute gaming sessions a week.

When the experiment was over, the scientists found that the participants lost an average of 0.7kg and consumed 220 calories less a day whilst playing the game. People also reported "liking" snack foods less after participating.

Researchers believe the study shows that "in some people, computerised training can lead to short-term benefits in eating behaviour and weight loss. This study suggests that training might be suitable as a complementary addition to existing weight loss programs or therapies for improving eating behaviour and life style".

However, they added that computerised traning should not be seen as a "weight loss cure. The effects were modest in size and training does not take the place of a healthy balanced diet or regular exercise."


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Lead researcher, Dr Natalia Lawrence of Exeter University said: "These findings are among the first to suggest a brief simple computerised tool can change people's everyday eating behaviour.

"This research is still in its infancy and the effects are modest. Larger, registered trials with longer-term measures need to be conducted. However, our findings suggest that this cognitive training approach is worth pursuing: It is free, easy to do and 88 per cent of our participants said they would be happy to keep doing it and would recommend it to a friend. This opens up exciting possibilities for new behaviour change interventions based on underlying psychological processes."




By Saffron Alexander

The Telegraph, Tuesday 7th July



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