Is Your Salad A Salad?
Potato chips become “veggie chips”, sugar-laden milkshakes “smoothies” and sweet sodas turn into “flavored water” – a study in the Journal of Consumer Research looked at how names influence even health-conscious individuals into making unhealthy choices.
The concept of giving something with a bad rep a nicer name to heighten acceptance is not new. Already twenty years ago, municipalities in Germany labeled waste dumps as “recycling parks” – “recycling” being much more positive than “dump”, and “park” most people associate with green meadows and lush trees.
Of course that didn’t change anything about the fact that you can smell the places 10 miles against the wind and them looking like the moon would after a rock concert.
What is utilized here is a principle by which people learn: the principle of association. When a child touches a flame, it quickly learns to associate “flame” with “heat” and “hurt”. As adults, we still organize our world in the same way, it only is more evolved. Grey suits are associated with business people, a big car with being rich and New York Times readers are labeled as conservative intellectuals.
And this principle makes sense – to a certain extent. Because without it, we would day by day have to spend so much time organizing what we experience, we wouldn’t be able to do anything else.
The problem is only that we tend to rely too much on it. We get lazy; once we organized, it’s hard to budge us into thinking differently and this can be exploited.
Not All Salads Are Equal
Conscious choices normally are good choices and health-conscious persons make rather conscious food choices. But could they still be tricked into making unhealthy choices?
Three scientists tried to find out. In one study, they put together a dish consisting of vegetables, pasta, salami, and cheese, sitting atop a bed of romaine lettuce and either called it “salad” or “pasta”. The first stood for a healthy choice, the second for a calorie-laden behemoth.
If the dish was called “pasta”, people on a weight loss diet rated it less healthy.
In another study, dieters and non-dieters were given what were supposedly two product samples, labeled as either “fruit chews” or “candy chews”. With the unhealthy name (“candy chews”), dieters perceived it as less healthy and less tasty than non-dieters. And consumed more of the product if it was named “fruit chews”.
How To Avoid These Pitfalls?
The question is: How can we avoid being so misled, when restaurants and food manufacturers increasingly use this tactic? We can’t just turn off an organizational system that normally is quite useful to us. Should we analyze ingredient lists? In some cases that’s hard to do.
Picture courtesy of “jeffreyw“.
new york times’ readers are not conservative intellectuals, but leftist liberals
Is that so?
One mans conservative intellectual is a neo-nazi’s leftist liberal. I suspect anyone of using leftist liberal of being a . . .
i guess name-calling is a great argument for you
Well, surely it was you who started a name calling session.
haha good read, experienced something quite similar when i was on vacation – they offered something called “fitness plate”, listing that it was grilled chicken breasts with a salad, having eaten bad all week long i decided to go with that hoping to get a nice dish. what did i get?? breaded chicken breasts in an oil sea with fatty and sugary yogurt dressing and what do i know…what a rape of chicken breasts and lettuce lol
well, i know better now 🙂
If that was the “fitness plate”, I don’t dare to imagine the rest 😉
Interesting read Evil, some of the salads I see people eating in McDonalds are funny.
IIRC, McDonald’s introduced these salads back then due to the negative, unhealthy image their menu had. What an irony.
hey evil, how come i can’t reply to oliver?
@oliver i called new york times’ readers leftist liberals because a “liberal” in europe is on the right, because it refers to clasical, 19th century liberalism. in the united states however, a liberal is on the left because they refer to neo-liberalism, which appeared at the beginning of the 20th century and it is probably best represented by john marynard keynes. what an american would call a liberal, europeans would name a social democrat. i don’t know if everyone reading this blog is familiar with that, so i thought that a “leftist liberal” is an acceptable compromise.
now, i dare you to find me anything in the new york times that is conservative, that is, which is enforcing the status quo, and not advocating for some “change” in politics or economy, something which does not ask for more intervertion from the government to solve things.
since i explained my “name calling,” i wonder if you can say why did you think i am a neo-nazi. do you know me and saw any svasticas tatooed on my skull? or what?
i think you just have some preconceived ideas about people who don’t say the “right things.” oh, wait, you actually said that in your first post…
It’s because there is a lock when replies to a comment go four deep. That was in place because it otherwise would have broken the old layout, but I think I can now raise it. Thanks for reminding me!
BTW, you guys are getting at each other throats over the definition of New York Times readers 😉
My salad recipe:
3 Stalks of celery
1 bell pepper (any colour)
1 medium tomato
15 baby carrots or 1 large regular carrot
1 cup of cut cucumber.
fresh cracked pepper to taste
1tbs Herbe de provence
Salt (very optional)
Cut everything into the same size (roughly 1cm x 1cm). Sprinkle the spices on the salad. place in refrigerator overnight. Eat the next day. One serving low calories great with a chicken breast as your protein. This is a massive salad i terms of volume but the calories are around 100 to 150. You will feel satisfied.
If you want a creamy dressing add a spoonful of plain greek yogourt before serving (mix well).
CG, you definitely know what you are doing! Using freshly cracked pepper is the mark of the civilized and refined person! 🙂
Seriously, this will be one I try out! The volume must be humonguous!
The neat thing about this salad it takes a while to eat but you never feel you are over eating and you never reach for a drink. Enjoy!