Why didn’t mom think of this?

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Published: September, 2017

Here's an idea to make vegetables more enticing: give them names that make them seem indulgent. An observational study published online June 12, 2017, by JAMA Internal Medicine found that diners in a large university cafeteria were more likely to put vegetables on their plates when the foods had less health-conscious names. Each weekday during the fall academic quarter, researchers took a batch of cooked vegetables and labeled them in one of four ways: basic (such as simply "green beans"); healthy restrictive (such as "light 'n' low-carb green beans and shallots"); healthy positive (such as "healthy energy-boosting green beans and shallots"); or indulgent (such as "sweet sizzlin' green beans and crispy shallots"). During the study period, diners usually went for vegetables with less healthy labels: 25% more people chose the indulgent option over basic labeling, 35% more people selected indulgent instead of healthy positive labeling, and 41% more people chose indulgent over healthy restrictive labeling. The indulgent label also led to people piling up to 33% more vegetables on their plates. The study didn't prove that the labels triggered the vegetable selections, and didn't prove that people actually ate their veggies. But the authors say using enticing food names appears to be a simple strategy to promote healthy eating.

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