Using a brain-training app helps people eat less junk food and lose weight, new research suggests.
The Food Trainer (FoodT app) trains people to tap on images of healthy foods — but to stop when they see unhealthy snacks, creating an association between these foods and stopping.
The new study, by the universities of Exeter and Helsinki, found that playing the game about once a day for a month led to an average one-point reduction of junk food consumption on an eight-point scale (the scale ranges from four or more items per day, to one or zero items per month).
Overall, people who used the app more also reported larger changes in their food intake.
About half of the study’s 1,234 participants followed the recommendation and played the game at least 10 times.
Across all participants, an average weight loss of half a kilogram (just over a pound) and a small increase in healthy food eaten were seen.
“As an example, someone who ate each junk food two to four times a week reduced this to once a week after using the app regularly for a month,” said Professor Natalia Lawrence, of the University of Exeter.