It certainly seems peculiar to many of us that someone would want to gain weight, as most of us are entangled in the quest for weight loss and, eventually, weight management.

London - It’s every dieter’s dream. Instead of endlessly counting calories or limiting yourself to salad, losing weight might be as simple as thinking yourself thin.

A study has shown that believing a meal is bigger than it actually is can curb appetite.

One hundred men and women were shown either a large or small bowl of soup and given it to eat.

Then, with the aid of a hidden pump and a screen, soup was surreptitiously added or removed to the bowl as they tucked in.

After just two or three hours, the amount actually eaten had little effect on hunger.

Instead, those who believed they had eaten the big bowl of soup felt the most satisfied, while those who believed they had eaten the small bowl felt the least satisfied – regardless of how much they had really eaten.

Professor Jeff Brunstrom of Bristol University, who carried out the study, said: “Obesity remains a major public health concern. Therefore understanding controls of energy intake should be high priority.”

He added: “The amount of hunger we experience between meals isn’t a simple product of the amount or type of food that we actually consumed – there is some sort of psychology involved.” - Daily Mail