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Reading Low-Calorie Recipes can Reduce Snack Purchases

Update Date: Apr 10, 2014 03:32 PM EDT

In a new study, researchers examined another potential way that supermarkets can help overweight and obese people control or lose pounds. The researcher, Esther Papies from the Netherlands' Utrecht University, reported that giving out low-recipe cards at the front of the supermarket resulted in fewer snack purchases.

For this study, Papies handed out two different kinds of recipe cards to 100 customers that entered a supermarket. All of the participants knew that they were a part of a study and the majority of them were women. Half of the participants received a recipe that had a title stating that the recipe was "healthy and good for your figure: extra low-calorie." On the other card, the title used more neutral words. Both cards had the same exact recipe.

Papies discovered that overweight people who received the "low-fat" recipe card ended up buying 75 percent fewer unhealthy snacks in comparison to those who had received the other card. The researchers counted the amount of snacks purchased by taking photographs of each participant's receipt. Either card did not have an effect on how many snacks normal weight customers purchased.

"By looking at the card, certain information might have been subconsciously activated in the memory: in this case, a prior intention to consume fewer calories. Study subjects subsequently acted by purchasing fewer snacks," Papies explained according to Medical Xpress.

The study, "Using health primes to reduce unhealthy snack purchases among overweight consumers in a grocery store," was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

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