Beware the taco salad, says a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research last week. It found that dieters’ focus on food names can lead them to overeat. They asked participants to eat either “salad” or “pasta” (both were a mix of vegetables, pasta, salami and cheese served on lettuce) or “fruit chews” or “candy chews” (both candy). And even though the foods were the same, they ate more of the healthily named ones. Non-dieters are actually less likely to fall for this, the researchers suggest, because dieters are focused on avoiding forbidden foods.
This comes hot on the heels of recent research that suggests organic food benefits from a “halo effect” – that because people think that eating organic is healthier, they also think there are significantly less calories and fat in those bites, and more fibre.
The fix? Check out the nutrition labels instead of guessing, so you’re not caught up in the ad speak.