December 15, 2008
Truffles Lead To Food Abuse

You hear people argue that legalizing chocolate truffles will not lead to use of more powerful food drugs. But the evidence says otherwise. Truffles are the gateway to indulgence and food abuse.

Indulging in just one small chocolate truffle can induce cravings for more sugary and fatty foods—and even awaken a desire for high-end status products, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Truffles even awaken a desire for high-end status products? First you eat a truffle. Then you eat a pizza. Before you know it you find yourself shopping for a Rolls Royce or maybe a Patek Philippe watch. Just say no.

In a study that examined goals and behavior in consumers, authors Juliano Laran (University of Miami) and Chris Janiszewski (University of Florida) found that study participants who consumed a chocolate truffle desired ice cream, pizza, and potato chips more than people who were told to resist eating a truffle.

When participants were allowed eat a truffle, they unconsciously activated a goal of indulgence, the authors explain. Likewise, those who were asked to resist the treat activated health goals. Once people felt their goals were met, they tended to reverse their behaviors. For example, when people who resisted the truffle were told they did a good job, they indicated that they desired fatty foods more than healthy foods.

"Once people feel like they have achieved a certain goal, they tend to pursue the opposing goal. When asked about their behaviors, no participant related their desires to the initial chocolate consumption, indicating the operation of a non-conscious system that guides people's behaviors," write the authors.

Truffles even awaken a desire for high-end status products? How rapidly has truffle consumption grown in recent years? Does this account the unsustainable US trade deficit, excessive personal indebtedness, and government budget deficits? Are truffles handed out by lobbyists?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 December 15 05:30 PM  Brain Appetite

Mary in LA said at December 16, 2008 2:57 PM:

Sadly, our truffles are only just beginning...

Audacious Epigone said at December 17, 2008 11:11 AM:

Evidence for me that self-discipline should not be mocked or marginalized, even as the idea of a free will becomes empirically more and more handicapped.

Brett J said at May 6, 2009 12:43 PM:

What stands out to me more is the instinct to reverse direction/pursue opposite goal. This pendulum-like tendency is not unusual in other human activity, though that doesn't explain the many 'why's?' that arise from noting its presence.

Brett J said at May 6, 2009 12:45 PM:

& good point, Epigone.

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