How consumption of healthy foods could lead to overeating?

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Are you on a strict diet regime and still not losing weight? Or are you a health-conscious person who feels that consuming healthy or nutritious food brings about little benefit to your body?

Studies from the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research show that if we find a particular food to be healthy, we are likely to consume more of it. This essentially leads to the process of overeating.

In this era where most of us are opting for healthier food options (i.e.Low carbohydrate diet, more vegetables, organic food alternatives), this is definitely a shocking news for us. However, the truth is that we are gaining weight by consuming healthier foods instead of shedding off the extra pounds.

Why and how does this exactly occur?

Researchers from the University of Texas-Austin established this theory known as the “healthy equals less filling” idea. This theory addresses the psychological reasons for this problem. Simply put, people tend to eat more when the food was portrayed as healthy.

These researchers also conducted an interesting cookie experiment, where participants were given two cookies and asked to eat just one cookie. Out of the two cookies, one cookie was shown as being healthy with nutritional information displayed on the packaging and another cookie with no such information (unhealthier version). Results showed that participants who consumed the healthier cookie, felt more hungry and ordered more food in turn.

As a result, consumption of such foods has also found to contribute to increasing obesity rates. Furthermore, the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research reports that shoppers have a tendency to consume more when they attempt to make healthy purchases using nutrition labels.

It is also essential that consumers are aware what exactly are health foods, and how to check for healthy food labels before consumption. Misconceptions about the nutritional benefits in these foods might lead them to consume more too.

Business Insider Singapore reports on the health foods which are worth eating and those which are not.

For instance, I am sure that all of us might have heard or tried juicing as a means to detox our body. However, when we juice fresh fruits and veggies, we are actually removing all their fibre content and just retaining their sugar, which is the incorrect way.

Moreover, this over consumption can be attributed to the increasing demand for healthy food products over the recent years too. According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey, 88% of consumers surveyed are more willing to pay higher for products which promote health and weight loss.

This sale of healthy food products is expected to further increase to about $1 trillion by 2017, findings from Euromonitor International report.

Therefore, no matter how much a particular food may be portrayed to be healthy or full of wholesome goodness, it is important that we as rational consumers, examine their benefits fully before consuming them. The mantra is – “Everything in moderation”

This article was written based on a research study conducted by the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. Results of the studies were published in an article dated January 2 2015. 

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