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Dieters: Skip the Salad??

(Photo by Chaloner Woods/Getty Images)

It’s hard enough trying to lose weight, with all the working out and counting calories.  At least you can trust that a salad is healthy for you — right?  Researchers aren’t so sure.

“Over time, dieters learn to focus on simply avoiding foods that they recognize as forbidden based on product name,” the authors explain. “Thus, dieters likely assume that an item assigned an unhealthy name (for example, pasta) is less healthy than an item assigned a healthy name (for example, salad), and they do not spend time considering other product information that might impact their product evaluations.” Non-dieters do not learn to avoid foods based on names and, given that they are not focused on healthful eating, are more likely to dismiss cues that imply healthfulness, including name.

Dieters perceived the item with an unhealthy name to be less healthful and less tasty than non-dieters,” the authors write. As a result, dieters consumed more of the confections when they were called “fruit chews.

The best advice is still to be your own dietician – and make smart choices for yourself.

When a salad is not a salad: Why are dieters easily misled by food names?.

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