4 days ago an amazing piece of research came out in Science [v330, p1530]. After imagining eating 30 pieces of candy, unrestricted candy consumption was cut to nearly half. After imagining eating cheese, unrestricted consumption of cheese was nearly cut in half, but there was no change in candy consumption. This means that imagining eating a food partly satisfies the mind so it needs less later on. Imagining moving but not eating 30 pieces of candy nearly doubled the amount of candy subsequently consumed, but imagining moving that many quarters had no effect on subsequent candy consumption. That means imagining handling something you want (we want candy more than quarters) without eating it makes you want it more. Although not part of this research, this lends support to the idea of "mindfull eating" i.e. that fully and slowly enjoying food will result in less of its consumption and more enjoyment than if you just gobble it up. Now we know that fully and slowly enjoying food just in your imagination BEFORE you eat will reduce how much of it you natually eat even when you have no restrictions. Mental imagery research has shown that imagining complex actions, like dance moves, significantly improves a person's ability to do those moves afterwards in real life. It is as if imagining that you are dancing gives you acutal dancing experience. Imagining eating a food does the same thing: it is like a real world experience as far as your mind is concerned. If you were addicted to sugar, imagining eating candy might make you eat MORE since it could trigger the addiction. The new research in Science did not investigate that aspect. Thank you to Jon for making me aware of this paper.