Habits can lure you to eat stale food

Posted 01/03/2012 | By HealthCorps

Do you always have a snack when watching TV? Do you always buy food at the movie theatre? Do you always stop at the food court while shopping? If these types of behaviors are habitual, you may even eat food that is clearly stale or foods that taste bad because of your habits.

A recent study out of University of Southern California reveals that when people entering a movie theatre were given either fresh or week old, stale popcorn, they ate the same amounts, especially if it was a “regular habit.” So the fact that some received poor-tasting stale popcorn didn’t seem to matter. They consumed it, despite its poor taste. Researchers postulate that the ingrained habit of always having a bucket when they watch a movie inspired the eating of lousy-tasting popcorn.

When the researchers moved the movie attendees to a meeting room setting, where they are not used to habitually watching a movie and consuming popcorn, they were more aware of how good or stale the popcorn tasted, and those given the stale popcorn at far less.

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