If you’re given time to think about it, I’m sure you would work out that a slice of chocolate cake is not made healthier by adding fruit. The chocolate cake still has the same amount of calories, in fact you’ve increased the calorie count by adding the fruit.
But your brain does not always work that way, and you’re not always on your guard, your perception is fooled when the chocolate cake is topped with fruit, you automatically believe it is healthier.
According to Forbes.com a study is soon to be published on the Journal of Consumer Psychology that backs this claim. Apparently many restaurants are sabotaging your diet by serving healthy foods along side fattening foods.
Your Brain Is Fooled By The Presence Of Healthy Ingredients
I know I’ve joked about eating a healthy salad to cancel out the calories in a decadent chocolate dessert, but it turns out that thought process is no joke – our brains apparently think that a healthy item somehow subtracts calories when added to something fattening.
Not Just Toppings…
While this study only looked at the effect of adding a topping to a food item, it seems likely our brains are fooled by the presence of healthy ingredients in any form. Take a carrot muffin, for example… carrots are good for you, right? Certainly a muffin made from carrots sounds healthier, than, say, a chocolate croissant. In fact, according to the Cosi nutrition guide, their carrot muffin packs in a whopping 470 calories (including 22 grams of fat and 62 grams of carbs). By comparison, a rich-sounding chocolate croissant from Starbucks weight in at a much lower 300 calories with barely half the carbs.
By incorporating healthy elements into the description of a food item, restaurants can almost certainly cause us to underestimate the calories of that item and make it seem healthier than it really is. Read the full article here.
So next time you’re browsing through the restaurant dessert menu, don’t be fooled in thinking it’s okay to order the chocolate cake because it’s topped with fruit. No amount of fruit is going to make it healthier, at the end of the day it is still a chocolate cake.
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