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See Inside March / April 2011

My, What a Big Salad You Have

When people see health food as larger, they are more likely to want to eat it

Dieters are engaged in a constant battle between losing weight and eating tasty food. Now a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that buttering up the brain with images of health food may help people see these items as more tempting. Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands prompted unsuccessful dieters with pictures of healthy foods, then found that, later, subjects viewed portions of these foods as bigger than they actually were. Previous research suggests that people are more likely to choose foods perceived as “bigger” at mealtimes. So if you’re trying to eat better, try flipping through the veggie chapter in a cookbook rather than sitting through the junk food ads on TV—seeing pictures of nutritious items could influence your choices.

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