Sweet Sizzlin’ Beans! Fancy Names May Boost Healthy Dining

Veggies named 'zesty ginger-turmeric sweet potatoes' proved more popular than those described as 'low-fat,' 'reduced-sodium' or 'sugar-free.'

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CHICAGO (AP) — Researchers tried a big serving of food psychology and a dollop of trickery to get diners to eat their vegetables. And it worked.

Veggies given names like “zesty ginger-turmeric sweet potatoes” proved to be more popular at a Stanford University cafeteria than labels that made them sound healthy, like “low-fat,” ”reduced-sodium” or “sugar-free.”

Diners didn’t realize the items were prepared the exact same way, but they consistently chose the fancy-sounding items more often and served themselves bigger portions in the 46-day experiment last fall.

Other studies suggest people think food that sounds healthy is less tasty.

The researchers say the labeling strategy could be tried in other settings to help address the nation’s obesity epidemic.

Their study was published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.