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Calling a Food 'Healthy' May Make You Hungrier
Date:4/2/2010

If you feel forced to eat salad now, you may raid the fridge later, study finds ,,

FRIDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- If you're hoping to slim down, try not to focus on the healthfulness of that low-fat, low-calorie salad you ate for lunch.

People who were asked to taste food described as "healthy" reported being hungrier afterward than people who ate the same food when it was described as "tasty."

"When people feel they are required to eat healthy food, eating that food makes them hungry," said senior study author Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science and marketing at the University of Chicago. "They are hungrier than if they didn't eat anything at all or if they'd eaten that food without thinking of its healthiness."

The study was published online this month in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Researchers conducted several experiments to explore the impact of perceptions about the health content of food and how full it made a person feel.

In the first experiment, researchers asked 51 college students to sample a chocolate-raspberry protein bar. Students were either told they were sampling "a new health bar," containing lots of protein, vitamins and fiber, or a "chocolate bar that is very tasty and yummy with a chocolate-raspberry core."

Later, when asked to rate their hunger, those who ate the "health" bar rated themselves as hungrier than those who ate the identical bar described as "tasty," according to the study.

A third group of students was asked to examine the bars and rate their hunger but they did not eat either bar. Their hunger levels were about the same as students who ate the bar described as "yummy" -- meaning that eating the "healthy" food actually made them feel hungrier than if they hadn't eaten a bar at all, the researchers said.

For dieters, a similar decision-making process may be involved when they choose a sala
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