When It Comes To Sugary Snacks, We Want What We Cant Have
Remember going through the grocery store checkout line with your mom and asking for candy, only to be told “No, candy is bad for you,” or “No, the marketing gimmick of putting candy in the checkout line at kid-eye level only works on unsophisticated losers, and we aren’t losers,” before she gave the cashier a knowing wink? And remember how her admonishments only made you want that candy more?
Turns out that’s not just a sign of dumb childhood rebellion. Because the same thing happens to adults.
Andrea Morales, Nguyen Pham, and Naomi Mandel, researchers at Arizona State University, recently published findings that messages of “Don’t eat those sweets!” often fly back in the faces of the people who yell them. After conducting three studies with over a thousand participants, the researchers discovered that dieters who read a message or saw a video that put sugary snacks in a negative light wanted those snacks more. In the second and third studies, dieters ate 39 percent and 30 percent more snacks and cookies than those who saw a positive message. That’s a statistically significant amount of adults crossing their arms and yelling, “I’ll show YOU, video with good logical health advice!”
The U.S. government and various groups are always increasing their efforts to promote healthy eating, but if these studies are any indication of what’s to come, commercials about fruits and vegetables are simply going to remind people that what they really want is a sack of Fun Size Snickers. Who knew Sesame Street characters singing about the joys of apples were dooming the world?
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