Sexing up the descriptions of healthy food makes people more likely to eat them


LONDON: YOU KNOW HOW every pretentious hipster restaurant loves to tart up its menu by describing the food in the most ridiculous terms? Like throwing around words such as “foraged,” “market,” “country,” “massaged,” and one of the worst: “artisanal.”

Well, turns out those pricey and trendy eateries are probably onto something—a new study from Stanford University found that when you use descriptive and indulgent such words to describe regular, old cooked veggies, it made their consumption skyrocket.

For the investigation, researchers labeled one vegetable in the university cafeteria over the 2016 fall semester in one of four ways—basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive, or indulgent. Basic was just the name of the veggie, healthy restrictive used words like “no added” or “lighter,” healthy positive labels had words like “high antioxidants” or “energy-boosting,” and indulgent used ridiculous descriptors like “dynamite” and “sweet sizzlin’.” There were no changes in how the food was prepared.


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