Health Care

Fancy Names May Get People to Eat Their Veggies

Fancy Names May Get People to Eat Their Veggies

But what if the same words that food sellers usually reserve for those indulgent foods-like juicy, crispy and seasoned-were applied to the veggies?

New research suggests that the language used on the label of a wine bottle influences our enjoyment of the drink. But that didn't stop diners from selecting the latter vegetable more often-and eating more of it, too.

You can't just call a beet a beet if you want people to actually eat it. Researchers found that people are more likely to add vegetables in their plates when these are served with seductive names than when they are promoted as healthy food.

The vegetable dishes were labeled in three other ways, besides indulgent - healthy restrictive condition, healthy positive condition and basic condition.

Dr Sue Bastian told MailOnline: 'Wine is more than just about the sensory attributes, like aromas, tastes, flavours, and mouthfeel, and that the story of the people behind its production, quality and provenance are important to the whole wine consumer experience'.

To test how labeling could impact consumption of healthier menu choices, researchers collaborated with Stanford Residential & Dining Enterprises to conduct a study in a large dining hall on campus on how certain vegetables were labeled, using four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive, or indulgent.

Researchers at Stanford University in the United States carried out a six-week study at their university cafetaria. No changes were made to the way the food was cooked and presented.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Vandana Sheth said that there is a perception that healthy food is plain and boring and that exciting labels can get some people to try food that they would not otherwise eat.

Green beans, for instance, were described as "green beans" (basic), "light "n" low-carb green beans and shallots" (healthy restrictive), "healthy energy-boosting green beans and shallots" (healthy positive) or "sweet sizzlin' green beans and crispy shallots" (indulgent). In terms of per day consumption, vegetables with indulgent labelling were consumed 16 percent more than those labelled healthy positive, 23 percent more than basic and 33 more than healthy restrictive labels.

At the end of each day, the team counted how many diners selected the veggie dish, weighing how much had been taken from the serving bowl.

Additionally, you may have noticed some food outlets, like Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's, have already included calorie counts on menu boards and online in an attempt to have diners make more health-conscious food choices.

'Further research should assess how well the effects generalize to other settings and explore the potential of indulgent labeling to help alleviate the pervasive cultural mindset that healthy foods are not tasty, ' the scientists from Stanford University, California, said in a research paper.

This work was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

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