Delicious new research to promote eating more vegetables

Top Stories

Researchers have been testing simple ways to encourage people to eat healthier foods.

Many public health campaigns have urged people to eat more vegetables by pointing out their health benefits.

Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 10% of Americans eat the recommended number of vegetables per day.

Recent studies found that focusing on taste may make healthy foods more attractive.

Researchers from Stanford University tested this idea by designing food labels for college dining halls that emphasized the tasty flavor of vegetable dishes served.

They chose names linked to excitement, indulgence, tradition, or geographic locations.

The taste-focused labels included names such as “Herb n’ Honey Balsamic Glazed Turnips” and “Sizzlin’ Szechuan Green Beans.”

On an equal number of days, the team tested health-focused labels like “Healthy Choice Turnips,” or “Nutritious Green Beans” as well as basic, non-descriptive labels like “Turnips,” or “Green Beans”. The dishes were the same every time, but only the labels changed.

Overall, the team was able to compare choices from 71 vegetable dishes served over an average of 37 days per school at five universities across the country. This provided a total of about 138,000 individual food-selection decisions.

The taste-focused labels increased selection by 14% compared with a basic label. Emphasizing taste instead of health benefits boosted selection by 29%. The taste-focused labels also increased actual consumption by 39% compared to the health-focused labels.

“This is radically different from our current cultural approach to healthy eating which, by focusing on health to the neglect of taste, inadvertently instills the mindset that healthy eating is tasteless and depriving,” said Stanford Researcher Alia Crum says.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

StormTracker 6 Radar