What causes people to underestimate calories in food?

Healthier fruits and vegetables frequently feature on packaging for foods high in fat and sugar. These pairings can lead to calorie underestimates (Chernev (2011) The Dieter’s paradox). In a series of experiments we replicated this effect but our findings demonstrated that calorie underestimation depends upon the presence and content of a reference food.

Status: Published. Forwood, Ahern, Hollands, Fletcher, Marteau. (2013) ‘Underestimating Calorie Content When Healthy Foods Are Present: An Averaging Effect or a Reference-Dependent Anchoring Effect?’ Access full text.

Tagged on: , , ,