Vice follows Virtue - Rewarding healthy food consumption with Unhealthy food

In an experiment where items being loaded into grocery carts were tracked, it was observed that for every healthy food that was added to the cart the shopper was more likely to then go over to ice cream or beer section.

After purchasing Virtue categories, consumers are more likely to shop at locations that carry vice categories.

This balancing act is very similar to how people reward themselves with beer or cake after a killer workout.

This is also known as a Tit for Tat effect.

In one experiment, one group was given placebo pills which they believed to be dietary supplements. This group expressed less desire to engage in exercise and more desire to engage in hedonistic activities like smoking and excessive eating. Another group was given the same pill and were told that it was a placebo and this group did not exhibit any of the hedonistic behavior of the first group.

In another experiment a group of smokers who thought they were given a Vitamin C pill smoked nearly twice as many cigarettes while filling out a questionnaire in comparison to a group who were told the pill was a placebo

Also read - NYTimes story - How Salad can makes us Fat


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