You may have tried every diet in the book – cutting out carbs, eating only cabbage soup, the blood group diet…
But, wearing a pair of specs could hold the answer to slimming down.
A research team from Japan has found that wearing an augmented reality headset, like the recently launched Google Glass, could act like a virtual diet pill, reducing the amount the user eats by up to 10 per cent.
Boffins from the University of Tokyo came up with special software for the headsets, which makes the portion size you are eating look bigger.
They used a deformation algorithm to make sure your hands look the same size as usual while the food you are eating looks larger. The team discovered that when they magnified food by 1.5 times, the amount eaten fell by around 10 per cent. When they shrunk the appearance of food, test subjects ate 15 per cent more than usual. The research was carried out with 12 people under strict laboratory controlled conditions.
Research team member Takuji Narumi said the technology simulated a feeling of having eaten enough, explaining: “We’ve found that when food looks bigger, you feel full right away but, when it looks small, you don’t feel full, even if you eat a lot.”
The research is a way off being used by dieters at home though as, so far, it only works against a bluescreen background. Scientists hope to develop their idea to make the system usable at home by using smarter image-processing technology.”
It was carried out as a follow-up to research which has shown the amount people eat varies depending on what size plate you put it on. Dinner or lunch placed in the middle of a large plate will probably be completely finished and you’d still feel hungry while a meal on a smaller plate will make you feel fuller.
Mr Narumi said the technology could be used not just to control portion size but to make sure people were eating less chocolate and more salad. He said. “High calorie foods that shouldn’t be eaten much could be automatically magnified by the computer and foods that should be eaten in larger amounts could be made to look smaller so people will eat more.”
It could just be the latest trick to fool ourselves into thinking we’ve eaten more than we have. The thought that the plate we eat off has a big impact on what, and how much, we eat has led to a whole host of diet plates coming onto the market.
One, simply called The Diet Plate, is partitioned off so that you put a portion of protein on one section, dairy on another, sauce and vegetables in other parts, and it is supposed to make sure you are getting a balanced diet.
Another study claimed you could lose weight by changing the colour of your plate. Researchers found when foods blend in with their background, people serve themselves 20 per cent more than if they were serving the same meal on a plate of contrasting colour.