I know why I sometimes eat too many brownies. They taste great! The same goes, of course, for a whole slew of desserts–I love me my strawberry rhubarb pie, and I never say no to a ginger snap. And while a touch of dessert is often a fine way to top off dinner, many of us get in trouble when we gorge on desserts.
So how can we get a taste of dessert without overindulging? This might sound weird, but try eating in front of a mirror–it will make junk food taste less delicious.
Bear with me while I explain the science behind this weird mirror research, and then show how that the finding is relevant whether or not you plan to actually eat in front of a mirror.
Normally, we think of how food tastes as being an objective phenomenon. Our taste buds tell us whether food is salty or sweet, tart or bland. But behavioral science has shown that our taste perceptions are influenced by a slew of unconscious factors. Give kids apples from a brown paper bag–meh. From a McDonald’s brown paper bag–yummy! Put green (tasteless) food coloring in a glass of orange juice–yuk! Tell someone a cracker is healthy–yawn. Describe the same cracker as unhealthy–delish!
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The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.