Is a Healthy Food Option Sabotaging Your Diet?

I wonder why the weight is not coming. Keep this in mind: you can inadvertently interfere with your goal, even if your determination to shed those extra pounds is quite strong. According to new research, just seeing a healthy food option on the menu actually tempts you to choose a food that makes you fat.

It doesn’t make sense, but according to researcher Gavan Fitzsimmons, who has a Ph.D., we are all subject to what he calls “goal achievement by proxy.”

Before you reject the idea entirely, keep in mind that while fast food places and vending machines have healthier options than ever before, analysts note that the fast food industry’s sales are not coming from those healthy items, but from sales of calorie-laden foods. foods like hamburgers and fries.

We look at the salad, but ask about the inexpensive meal.

This last bit of research supports the idea that once we feel like we’ve done something right, even if we’re just thinking about choosing a healthy option from a list, we feel eligible for a reward.

“We found that having a healthy ingredient leads people to choose the least healthy on the list,” Fitzsimons tells WebMD.

“Just looking at and thinking about the healthy ingredient makes you feel like you’ve done your homework. It’s crazy, but it’s human.”

Here’s how the team revealed this part of the self-deception that we feed on.

Study participants who scored high on food and self-control measures were asked to choose a food from one of two picture menus.

Half of the participants viewed a menu that contained only unhealthy options like French fries, chicken tenders, and baked potatoes filled with butter and sour cream. The other half of the people saw the same menu, but with the addition of a salad.

Is a Healthy Food Option Sabotaging Your Diet


When salad was an option, some people chose it, but many of the more disciplined participants took one that was unhealthy. Even more intriguing, the effect was strongest among those who normally had a lot of self-control.

For whatever reason, consumers seem to tend to lower their self-control when something healthy is an option.

It is as if they feel that the goal has only been achieved by seeing, and perhaps briefly looking at, the visible. This seems to happen outside of our consciousness.

In other forms of study, the participants also made unhealthy choices. Most opt ​​for the calorie-laden bacon burger, chicken sandwich, and fish sandwich over the healthy veggie burger. For desserts, choose Chocolate Covered Oreo, Original Oreo, and Gold Oreo, rather than 100-calorie rated cookies.

The only thing that can help you achieve the indirect goal is to always remember your intentions.

Anything that helps you stay in control and away from gratification will also be an added bonus in keeping you on the right track.

For some, wearing a rubber band around the wrist and hitting before ordering keeps attention directly in the present, making the subconscious less likely to take over.

“What it shows is that adding a healthy item or two to a menu is basically the worst thing you can do,” says Fitzsimons. “This is completely new research, showing that a lot of what we do happens outside of our consciousness.”

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