You know how every pretentious hipster restaurant loves to tart up its menu by describing the food in the most ridiculous terms? You know the vocabulary: “foraged,” “market,” “country,” “massaged,” and one of the worst: “artisanal.”
Well, turns out those pricey and trendy eateries are probably onto something—a new study from Stanford University found that when you use descriptive and indulgent such words to describe regular, old cooked veggies, it made their consumption skyrocket.
For the investigation, researchers labeled one vegetable in the university cafeteria over the 2016 fall semester in one of four ways—basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive, or indulgent. Basic was just the name of the veggie, healthy restrictive used words like “no added” or “lighter,” healthy positive labels had words like “high antioxidants” or “energy-boosting,” and indulgent used ridiculous descriptors like “dynamite” and “sweet sizzlin’.” There were no changes in how the food was prepared.
Over the course of the quarter, more than 8,000 students selected the veggie dish out of almost 30,000 diners. The indulgent labels drove 25% more of the students to select the dish compared to basic labels, 41% more than the healthy restrictive words, and 35% more than the healthy positive labels. The fancy descriptors also increased the mass of vegetables eaten by 23% over basic, 33% over healthy restrictive, and 16% more than the healthy positive labels.
The study authors stated at the end of the study that: “Our results represent a robust, applicable strategy for increasing vegetable consumption in adults: using the same indulgent, exciting, and delicious descriptors as more popular, albeit less healthy, foods. This novel, low-cost intervention could easily be implemented in cafeterias, restaurants, and consumer products to increase selection of healthier options.”
We think you’re a bit smarter than letting fancy words get you to eat your veggies. You know they're great for you and can make you stronger, smarter, and live longer, so just eat them. If you need some help in preparation, check out these 10 muscle-building salads that are easy to make.