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Research Letter
August 2017

Association Between Indulgent Descriptions and Vegetable Consumption: Twisted Carrots and Dynamite Beets

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stanford University, Department of Psychology, Stanford, California
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(8):1216-1218. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.1637

In response to increasing rates of obesity, many dining establishments have focused on promoting the health properties and benefits of nutritious foods to encourage people to choose healthier options.1 Ironically however, health-focused labeling of food may be counter-effective, as people rate foods that they perceive to be healthier as less tasty.2 Healthy labeling is even associated with higher hunger hormone levels after consuming a meal compared with when the same meal is labeled indulgently.3 How can we make healthy foods just as appealing as more classically indulgent and unhealthy foods? Because healthy foods are routinely labeled with fewer appealing descriptors than standard foods,1 this study tested whether labeling vegetables with the flavorful, exciting, and indulgent descriptors typically reserved for less healthy foods could increase vegetable consumption.