Changing food perceptions and incorporating pureed vegetables into entrees can improve the dietary quality of kids and grown-ups.
We saw that just changing the name of healthy foods can have a significant impact on children's eating habits. Are adults as gullible? Yes. For example, in one study, people actually reported "traditional Cajun red beans and rice" tasted better than just "red beans with rice" even though they were both the exact same dish!
Back in World War II, lots of domestic meat was shipped overseas, leaving lots of organ meats behind: the hearts, kidneys, brains, stomachs, intestines, and even the feet, ears, and heads of cows, hogs, sheep, and chickens. The challenge was to encourage people to eat chicken heads and sheep ears. To accomplish this, the Department of Defense evidently enlisted dozens of the brightest, most famous, psychologists to determine how dietary changes could be accomplished. Taste wasn't the problem. People would eat brains as long as you didn't tell them they were eating brains. So their solution was to invent mystery meat. Just don't tell consumers what they're eating. And the same can apply with healthy foods.
As with organ meats in the 1940s, the suggestion that a food contains soy may be so powerful that some people convince themselves they do not like the taste. For instance, you give someone an energy bar that says it has soy protein in it and people rate it as grainy and tasteless, compared to identical bars with no mention of the word soy. In reality, there was no soy in either of the bars. It's what you call a "phantom ingredient" taste test. Simply the suggested presence of soy made people believe they tasted it, and they evaluated it accordingly. In general, a large percentage of consumers taste what they want to taste.
So can you use the same vegetable sneak attack tactic, so successful in children, on adults? It turns out that covertly adding hidden pureed vegetables to meals works for adults, too—and even for vegetables they didn't like. It was shown that the adults’ dislike of the vegetables that were incorporated into the entrees did not affect the consumption of the vegetable-enhanced entrees. This indicates that the incorporation of pureed vegetables into entrees increased the intake of vegetables even when the added vegetable was disliked, the big babies. And of course, the more vegetables you eat, the fewer calories you get, so you get the twin benefit. They were eating up to a pound of vegetables a day and 350 fewer calories. Keep that up you could lose 30 pounds a year without even trying.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ariel Levitsky.
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How healthy are those beans and rice regardless of what you call them? Check out Beans and the Second Meal Effect.
Another way to entice men and women to eat healthier is to appeal to their concerns about sexual function (50 Shades of Greens) or vanity:
This is the final of a 3-part video series on practical tips for dietary improvement, after addressing Tricks to Get Kids to Eat Healthier at School and Tricks to Get Kids to Eat Healthier at Home. But how can we overcome our built-in hunger drives for salt, sugar, and fat? That's the subject of the next video, Changing Our Taste Buds. And then another vanity appeal in Eating Better to Look Better.
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