2012-06-05

Co.Exist

Diet Goggles Keep You From Eating Too Much

Your eyes are bigger than your stomach. So the trick is to make your eyes smaller. That’s what these glasses do. And when you think your food is really big, it changes how you eat.

No matter what hucksters try to tell you, the best way to lose weight is through diet and exercise (and potentially by avoiding toxic chemicals). So beyond creating a magic weight-loss pill that really works, the best way scientists can innovate is by making it easier to consume less food.

The augmented reality goggles seen in the video above, created by researchers at the University of Tokyo, pull a simple visual trick to keep you from gorging on food. When users look at a food item, its size is magnified—but everything else around it is of normal size. By making you think you’re eating more, in other words, the researchers think they can convince you to eat less.

So far, that thesis has proven correct. In a volunteer study, people ate 10% less when their biscuits were magnified by 50%. When the biscuits were tweaked to look smaller (two thirds of their real size), people at 15% more.

The goggles don’t involve any manipulation of smell or touch—the simple visual trick seems to be enough. But according to AFP, the researchers have also developed a device (dubbed a "meta biscuit") that uses scent and visual changes to fool users into thinking that a plain biscuit is actually flavored like strawberry or chocolate.

The researchers don’t plan on commercializing their technology. But maybe in a few years’ time, their visual trick will end up inGoogle Glass, right alongside social video sharing.

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