Saturday, November 11, 2006

Evolution in reverse

A report in the October 2006 issue of Journal of Marketing provides evidence that human beings are no longer are capable of making rational food choices.

The study authors report that simply by labeling a food “unhealthy,” consumers will rate it more highly in taste tests than the identical item if it’s labeled “healthy.” It seems that for most people, a total disconnect has developed between food and the purpose it serves. What a perplexing notion, in the face of our superior intellectual acuity.

Most notably:
“The authors obtain these effects both among consumers who report that they believe that healthiness and tastiness are negatively correlated and, to a lesser degree, among those who do not report such a belief.”
This could not be an instinctive failing, but must arise from what we are taught, and it suggests that perhaps the worst thing our parents can do during our upbringing, nutritionally speaking, is to encourage us to eat any particular foodstuff that we’re resisting, on the grounds that it’s good for us…


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