Tricks to Get Adults to Eat Healthier

Tricks to Get Adults to Eat Healthier
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Changing food perceptions and incorporating puréed vegetables into entrees can improve the dietary quality of kids and grown-ups.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

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, people actually report “Traditional Cajun Red beans [and] Rice” tastes better than just “Red Beans [and] Rice” even though they were both the exact same dish!

It’s funny; back in World War II, much of domestic meat was shipped overseas, just leaving lots of organs behind: the “hearts, kidneys, brains, stomachs, intestines, and even the feet, ears, and heads of cows, hogs, sheep, and chickens.” The challenge was how were they going to convince people, encourage people, to eat chicken heads?

To accomplish this, the Department of Defense enlisted dozens of the brightest, most famous psychologists to determine how dietary change could be accomplished. Apparently, 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 healthier foods.

“As with organ meats in the 1940s, the suggestion that a food contains soy may be so powerful that some people convince themselves [that] they do not like the taste.” For instance, if you give someone an energy bar that says it has soy protein in it, 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?Covertly adding hidden puréed 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 entrées did not affect the consumption of the vegetable-enhanced entrées.” Who couldn’t use a little vegetable enhancement?

“This indicates that the incorporation of puréed vegetables into entrées increased the intake of vegetables even when the added vegetable was disliked.” The big babies. And of course, the more vegetables you eat, the less calories you get, so you get a twin benefit, right? They were eating up to a pound of vegetables a day, and 350 fewer calories. More food, less calories. Keep that up; you could lose 30 pounds a year without even trying.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to celeste343 via flickr and Nomadic Lass. Thanks to Ellen Reid and Shane Barrett for their Keynote help.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

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, people actually report “Traditional Cajun Red beans [and] Rice” tastes better than just “Red Beans [and] Rice” even though they were both the exact same dish!

It’s funny; back in World War II, much of domestic meat was shipped overseas, just leaving lots of organs behind: the “hearts, kidneys, brains, stomachs, intestines, and even the feet, ears, and heads of cows, hogs, sheep, and chickens.” The challenge was how were they going to convince people, encourage people, to eat chicken heads?

To accomplish this, the Department of Defense enlisted dozens of the brightest, most famous psychologists to determine how dietary change could be accomplished. Apparently, 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 healthier foods.

“As with organ meats in the 1940s, the suggestion that a food contains soy may be so powerful that some people convince themselves [that] they do not like the taste.” For instance, if you give someone an energy bar that says it has soy protein in it, 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?Covertly adding hidden puréed 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 entrées did not affect the consumption of the vegetable-enhanced entrées.” Who couldn’t use a little vegetable enhancement?

“This indicates that the incorporation of puréed vegetables into entrées increased the intake of vegetables even when the added vegetable was disliked.” The big babies. And of course, the more vegetables you eat, the less calories you get, so you get a twin benefit, right? They were eating up to a pound of vegetables a day, and 350 fewer calories. More food, less calories. Keep that up; you could lose 30 pounds a year without even trying.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to celeste343 via flickr and Nomadic Lass. Thanks to Ellen Reid and Shane Barrett for their Keynote help.

Nota del Doctor

How healthy are those beans and rice—regardless of what you call them? Check out Beans & the Second Meal Effect.

What’s wrong with eating brains? See Avoiding Cholesterol is a No-Brainer, and Foodborne Rabies.

Does soy deserve its bad rap? No; see Breast Cancer Survival & Soy. They may be overrated in the cholesterol-lowering department, though; see Soy Worth a Hill of Beans?

Another way to entice men and women to eat healthier is to appeal to their concerns about sexual function (see 50 Shades of Greens) or vanity:

  1. Golden Glow
  2. Preventing Wrinkles with Diet
  3. Beauty Is More than Skin Deep
  4. Can Cellulite be Treated with Diet?

This is the last video of a three-part 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 my next video: Changing our Taste Buds. And then, another vanity appeal in Eating Better to Look Better.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: How to Get Kids to Eat their Vegetables, How to Get our Kids to Eat their Vegetables, and How to Get Parents to Eat their Vegetables.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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