Quit smoking picture by Sibel via FlickrIt is often thought that after you give up smoking, you end up compensating by eating in the breaks where you would normally go for a cigarette and therefore gain weight. Unfortunately, this is a factor which means many people feel more reluctant to kick the habit for fear that they will pile on the pounds despite their choice for a healthier lifestyle.

The Vanilla Pudding Test

It is widely thought that smoking suppresses appetite but it can actually lead to weight gain. Smoking can dull the ability to taste fat and sugar meaning that cravings for these are not satisfied as easily as a non-smoker who can fully taste sugary and fatty foods.

Recent research asked 4 groups of women to rate the sweetness and creaminess of several different vanilla puddings with varying amounts of fat and sugar. The 4 groups were made up of 1) obese smokers 2) obese non-smokers 3) smokers of normal weight 4) non-smokers of normal weight. The obese smokers perceived less creaminess and sweetness than the other 3 groups and also derived less pleasure from tasting the puddings.

It's interesting to see in the results of the study that participants who were smokers of normal weight or obese non smokers could detect fat and sweetness better than the obese smokers group. This suggests that smoking and obesity has a 'double whammy' effect on perception of taste and consequently difficulty managing weight.

Obesity and smoking = increased risk of disease

Not only is there a clear connection with smoking and weight gain, both are high risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases meaning that the additional burden of craving more fats and sugars whilst not tasting can be damaging to our health.
Some studies have linked smoking to cravings and greater fat consumption regardless of obesity, with others suggesting that women are more likely than men to take up smoking as a weight control.

Change your behaviours to change your life

At Ideal Weight we think that many have a warped perception that smoking can help you control your weight. As we often say, nothing falls into your mouth without you putting it there and this has to be kept in mind when you give up smoking.

If you are taking part in Stoptober and are worried that you'll start replacing cigarettes with food, then Ideal Weight's cognitive behavioural coaching sessions alongside nutritional packs and food plans, could help you to cut out your bad habits with food, lose weight and assist you on your journey to giving up smoking. All in all you could be a much healthier version of you by the time the month is up!

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