Can a food’s texture play a harmful role in dieting?
A recent study finds that the texture of certain foods may be impeding your diet. HealthDay News reports that this new research — to be published in this month's edition of the Journal of Consumer Research – examined the psychological effects of how a certain food's texture plays a part in not just how it's eaten, but whether or not it's eaten at all. This can have a significant effect on dieting as how a given food item may feel when being chewed and swallowed may deter that person from eating it in the first place, regardless of its nutritional value.
The study, conducted by Dipayan Biswas and Courtney Szocs of the University of South Florida, evaluated participants given both crunchy and soft brownies to eat. One control group was asked to estimate the caloric amount of their brownies, while the other was simply given them as a snack to eat. The latter party gravitated more toward the soft brownies, while the former — who had calories on the brain — leaned toward eating the crunchy brownies instead.
The study's authors concluded that, despite having no hard information about either brownie's caloric level, perceptions of calories caused the subjects to single out one type of brownie over the other based on texture alone.
"We studied the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose and how many calories we think we are consuming," write Biswas and Szocs. "Understanding how the texture of food can influence calorie perceptions, food choice and consumption amount can help nudge consumers towards making healthier choices."
In this particular case, neither brownie is especially good for you – crunchy or soft, they're equally sugary and fattening. But the finding that just how a certain food can feel may sway perceptions of nutritional content, and repel people from eating it solely because of that perception, can have some dangerous implications for creating your own healthy diet.
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