No matter how deeply ingrained our healthy eating habits are, staying on the clean-eating wagon can be difficult when faced with tasty treats or indulgent desserts. After all, we're only human. But, in the event of crumbling of willpower, research has come up with a simple solution in order to keep dietary damage to a minimum: serve yourself.
Simple but effective
It might sound like an odd (or even obvious) suggestion, but the results of this new study actually make sense. It was found that people eat less junk food when they fill their own plate compared to when someone else serves them. Study authors Linda Hagen, Aradhna Krishna, and Brent McFerran concluded:
“We find that when participants are given the choice of whether or not to consume snacks that they perceive as relatively unhealthy, they have a greater inclination to consume these snacks when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food.
Research was conducted over the course of five experiments. Volunteers entered a lab where there were Reese's Pieces (a peanut butter based confectionery) up for grabs. When served in bowls for people to help themselves, nobody had any. However, when served directly in individual cups, roughly one-third of participants took some.
As an explanation as to why this might happen, the authors added:
“We suggest that this behaviour occurs because being less physically involved in serving one’s food allows participants to reject responsibility for unhealthy eating and thus to feel better about themselves following indulgent consumption.”
So, although the study has its limitations, it does show us the importance of taking responsibility for our own healthy eating habits.
The study was published in the Journal of Marketing Research.
Via Harper’s Bazaar UK and NetDoctor