A new study says that because dieters are more likely than non-dieters to look for foods that are labeled as healthy, they are also more inclined to pick mislabeled foods that are actually not good for them.
Researchers concluded that over time, dieters learn to focus on avoiding foods that they recognize as forbidden, based on the product's name. Non-dieters, however, aren't as concerned about what they're consuming, so they're more likely to dismiss cues that imply healthfulness.
In one of the experiments, over 100 people were given samples of a product labeled either “fruit chews” or “candy chews”. Dieters thought the item that was labeled “candy chews” was less healthy, and as a result, ate more of the product labeled “fruit chews.”
The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.