Why do people choose unhealthy food instead of healthy food? A pair of researchers discovered that this may not always be our fault.
When faced with a decision about what to eat, people sometimes choose bad Options. Although one might think this is due to a lack of willpower to make healthier choices for our health, the author of a new study, Publish In Nature Human Behavior, it is found that it may also be attributed to the speed at which our brain processes information.
In this study, 79 young adult participants were asked to fast for four hours before participating in the experiment. Duke University Say In the press release. Then, their task is to rate foods based on their desirability, health, and taste.
Afterwards, they were asked to choose between two different foods. Some options are healthy, others are not, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Say In the press release. Participants must make 300 choices. The researchers timed the participants as they made their choices and provided them with a food of their choice at the end of the experiment.
Researchers found that, on average, people use less than half a second to judge whether a food is delicious, and it takes twice as long to judge whether a food is healthy. In other words, people tend to take longer to process information about the health of a food, rather than its taste.
“Our research results show that it is usually not our fault that we eat unhealthy food-our brain is slower in processing the health of food compared to the taste of the food. We may be well aware of the health or unhealthy level of food But our brain considers the taste of food first,” Nicolette Sullivan, head of research at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said at a university press conference.
Duke University said that even if it doesn’t sound like much, this small amount of time is enough to change people’s choices.
“For many people, health information enters the decision-making process too late (as opposed to taste information) to promote healthier choices,” study co-author Scott Huettel of Duke University stated The university press release added.
According to Sullivan, their results also show that people who spend more time deciding what to eat tend to choose healthier options. In addition, even people who “normally” choose unhealthy choices can make healthier choices if they spend more time.
Half of the participants were also “vague” about the importance of healthy eating, and they were unlikely to make unhealthy choices in the end. According to the researchers, this shows how important it is to spend more time in deciding what to eat in order to make healthier food choices.
“If we are given more time to think about what food we will order in the restaurant, and if we describe the health of the restaurant meal more clearly before choosing, our brain will be easier to process the relevant information. How much food is Healthy,” Sullivan said, according to the London Stock Exchange.
“There may be ways to set up the environment to make it easier for people to make healthy choices,” Huettel said. “You want to make it easier for people to consider the health of food, which will help motivate people to make better decisions.”