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Computer game can help you lose 1.5 pounds a week, creators say
The newest thing in weight loss isnt at all what youd expect it to be. Instead of planks, paleo or push-ups, it involves pressing a button on a keyboard. - photo by Jessica Ivins
UNITED KINGDOM The newest thing in weight loss isnt at all what youd expect it to be. Instead of planks, Paleo or push-ups, it involves pressing a button on a keyboard.

Thats right. The thing that could help you lose more than a pound a week is, in short, a video game.

If you find it hard to believe, youre not alone. But scientists from two universities in the United Kingdom developed a game designed to teach people how to make healthy choices using images of different types of foods, according to Yahoo! Health.

The user is shown pictures of a variety of things ranging from junk food to clothing to fruits and vegetables. Theyre instructed to respond to items that fall within a thin border by pressing a button on the keyboard. If the border is thick and bold, theyre asked to withhold any response.

As you can probably guess, foods that are considered unhealthy always fall within the bold border, and thus, are to be skipped. Ultimately, researchers say, the game can train people to think stop when faced with poor food choices, and that training translates to real life.

Still dont believe it? You can play the game yourself for free, right here.

To test the efficacy of the game, the researchers from Exeter and Cardiff conducted three different experiments involving randomly selected adult students and staff at Cardiff University. They only included people who self-identified as regular snackers and had issues with portion control.

They found that those who played the game ate an average of 220 fewer calories a day, which translated to weight loss of about 1.5 pounds a week.

Additionally, participants claimed to avoid foods included in the stop group much more often after playing the game than they did before, Yahoo reported.

These findings are among to the first to suggest that a brief, simple computerized tool can change peoples everyday eating behavior, study lead Dr. Natalia Lawrence told Daily Mail. It is exciting to see the effects of our lab studies translate to the real world.

Participants in the study which was published in the journal Appetite were pleased with the overall experience. Eighty-eight percent said they would keep playing the game and even recommend it to friends.

But how exactly can clicking a button keep you from eating certain foods? Lawrence explained to Yahoo that the regions of the brain that control movement and reward are linked, so when you learn to avoid pressing a key when you see an unhealthy snack that can lessen the reward associated with that particular food.

I think this approach is one promising tool that could help to control cravings, she said.
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