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Tags: negative | ads | increase | sugary | snacks | dieters

Ads Blasting Sugary Snacks Backfire

Ads Blasting Sugary Snacks Backfire
(Copyright iStock)

By    |   Tuesday, 26 January 2016 11:24 AM


If you started 2016 with the goal of losing weight, your lofty ambition may have already gone by the wayside: 1 in 3 Americans ditch their resolutions by the end of January. But new research found that ads telling you how bad sugary snacks are for your health are likely to make you eat even more sugar.

The studies, published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, show that messages from the "food police" preaching that all sugary snacks are bad, prompted dieters to eat 39 percent more cookies than those who saw positive messages.

Researchers at Arizona State University conducted three studies to demonstrate that negative one-sided messages about food can backfire.

In the first study, 380 volunteers read a positive, negative, or neutral message about dessert. Dieters who saw the negative message had more positive thoughts about unhealthy foods than non-dieters, but the thoughts of non-dieters did not show any difference.

"What these results show us is that rather than leading dieters to make healthier choices, these food police messages are actually making unhealthy foods even more enticing to dieters," says researcher Nguyen Pham.

In the second study, 397 volunteers read either a positive or negative about sugary snacks. Then they watched a short video while eating chocolate-chip cookies. Dieters who saw the negative message ate 39 percent more cookies than dieters who saw the positive message. As in the first study, non-dieters were unaffected by the messages.

The third study examined choices of snack foods. Among 324 participants, dieters who saw the negative message about snack foods chose 30 percent more unhealthy snacks than dieters who saw the positive message. Dieters who saw a message that presented both positive and negative aspects of snack foods chose 47 percent fewer unhealthy snacks than volunteers who saw only the negative message.

The studies indicate that government agencies, which are using public service announcements about healthy eating in an effort to combat the nation's obesity epidemic, should carefully consider the dangers of using only negative messages.

"Our work shows that negative messages about unhealthy food will backfire among dieters," said researcher Naomi Mandel. "If you want to change what they eat, a more even-handed message that contains both positive and negative information is the way to go."


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Health-News
If you started 2016 with the goal of losing weight, your lofty ambition may have already gone by the wayside: 1 in 3 Americans ditch their resolutions by the end of January. But new research found that ads telling you how bad sugary snacks are for your health are likely to...
negative, ads, increase, sugary, snacks, dieters
380
2016-24-26
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 11:24 AM
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