Unlucky consumers get a dubious mouthful

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th June 2012

Australian Food News reports on the following two unrelated but pretty amazing scientific stories.

Goggles for dieters

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have applied their research in virtual reality technology to the growing problem of obesity by creating a pair of ‘diet goggles’.

The idea involves hi-tech spectacles that can trick wearers into eating less by making food appear up to 50% larger than it is in reality. In addition, the distorted image of a food can be made to distort the wearer’s senses and make a healthier but unattractive food seem like a less healthy but tastier food such as a piece of chocolate.

During experiments, volunteers wearing the virtual reality glasses were told to eat biscuits until they felt full. Assuming that they were consuming much larger biscuits than they actually were, the volunteers ate about 10% less than they otherwise would have.

The researchers have suggested that this virtual reality technology was effective because the human brain is more likely to believe visual information than signals from internal sensors such as hunger.

According to the researchers, there are not yet plans to release the diet goggles.

Amorous squid inseminates the customer

Perhaps the University of Tokyo’s diet goggles might have prevented a 63-year-old Korean woman from eating a portion of parboiled squid along with its internal organs and suffering an unusual case of penetration.

The Journal of Parasitology has this week reported that, on putting the squid in her mouth, the woman experienced a severe pricking pain in her oral cavity. She spat the portion of squid out immediately, yet continued to complain of a “foreign-body sensation” in her mouth.

Small, white bug-like organisms were found stuck in the mucous membrane of her tongue, cheek and gingival. When completely removed, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.

Referenced studies

For the Journal of Parasitology report, go here.

Information on the University of Tokyo research can be found here.