According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 21 percent of people reading this article right now made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. With a goal set and January determination kicking in, we’re doing everything we can to be healthy in 2016 — we’ve planned out the most popular workout day, got ourselves some kickass new workout gear from Forever 21 and even swapped out our regular girls’ night in for healthy pizza recipes. But a new study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research says that eating healthy foods and exercising aren’t the only things we have to worry about to lose weight in 2016 — we actually have to re-train our subconscious opinion of healthy food too.


Led by doctoral student Jacob Suher at the University of Texas at Austin, the study suggests that most people believe healthy foods are less filling than high-calorie alternatives. In fact, even the participants who said they did not believe healthy foods were less filling demonstrated the same biases towards healthy foods as those who said they did. Although we all know that eating a salad (sans fat-filled dressing) is obviously better for us than a bag of chips, it’s the subconscious thought that the salad is less filling that causes people to order a larger portion and actually consume more food and calories.

Because of this deep-seated subconscious bias, Suher and associates argue that healthy food labels are, ironically, contributing to weight gain instead of promoting healthy living. Instead, the researchers believe healthy food packaging should focus on telling us how nourishing healthy foods are to lessen people’s subconscious decision to overeat healthy food.

Whether you believe that healthy food labels should change or not, it’s still a good idea to remind yourself of your biased thinking that your quinoa salad is less filling than your cheat-day Big Mac. If you’re consuming the right portion sizes and eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, you should be well on your way to making 2016 your healthiest year yet.

Do you believe we have subconscious bias towards thinking healthy foods are less filling? Tweet us at @BritandCo.

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