Foods are constantly getting labelled as “healthy” to help consumers make better dietary decisions, but that trend could actually be doing the opposite. A recent study suggests most people think of healthy food as less filling, so they consume greater portion sizes to make up for it.
Photo by Helder Ribeiro.
The study, led by doctoral student Jacob Suher at the University of Texas at Austin, and recently published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, suggests that healthy meal choices are being undermined when you decide to eat too much of a healthy item. Not only can you get stuck thinking “this salad won’t fill me up,” but you might also think “this salad is good for me so I can eat as much of it as I want.”
Furthermore, the study suggests you may feel hungrier faster after eating a healthy meal because of the same bias. All of this can add up to overeating, despite the fact you’ve made healthy food choices. To counteract this bias, the researchers recommend a shift in mindset.
Highlight the nourishing aspects of your truly healthy food to mitigate the belief that it is less filling. If you fully believe that it’s nourishing you, you’ll probably be less inclined to eat too much it.
Eating Healthy or Feeling Empty? How the “Healthy = Less Filling” Intuition Influences Satiety [Journal of the Association for Consumer Research via PsyBlog]