Even for the best of us, eating healthy can be a bit of a challenge. I honestly like vegetables (preferably fried, 0r maybe not) but sometimes I’d rather have pizza. However, American researchers claim that eating healthy is all in the name.
A team at Stanford tried it out on students in the university cafeteria and found veggie sales went up by 25% when indulgent labels were used. “Sizzlin’ beans”, “dynamite beets” and “twisted citrus-glazed carrots” tempted diners to fill their plates.
Interestingly enough, healthy labels, such as “wholesome”, were a turn-off, even though the dishes were identical in every other way.
The experiment took place over the whole of the autumn academic term. Each day, a vegetable dish was labelled up in one of four ways:
- basic – where the description was simply “carrots”, for example
- healthy restrictive – “carrots with sugar-free citrus dressing”
- health positive – “smart-choice vitamin C citrus carrots”
- indulgent – “twisted citrus-glazed carrots”
Each day, the scientists counted how many of the 600 or so diners selected the vegetable dish and, at the end of the meal time, weighed how much of the food had been taken from the serving bowl.
Seductive names resulted in 25% more people selecting the vegetable compared with basic labelling, 41% more people than the healthy restrictive labelling and 35% more people than the healthy positive labelling.
The researchers, Brad Turnwald and colleagues, say the findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, make sense when you consider the psychology behind food choices.”When most people are making a dining decision, they are motivated by taste. And studies show that people tend to think of healthier options as less tasty for some reason.”
I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s because usually healthier options are less tasty. Oh well, brb, got to rename all the veggies in my fridge so I can start eating healthy.