Size of plates, colors of food … Several factors can lead a person to eat more food than it should, without her realizing it. And one of them turns out to be the temperature of the dishes, as explained by researchers from Grenoble Ecole de Management whose study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research. They started from the observation that little research has been carried out on the impact of the temperature of food on people and on the quantity they consume. The study shows that the majority of participants think, often wrongly, thata hot meal is more nourishing therefore more caloric while the same cold dish is perceived as lighter in calories.
The experiments were carried out with more than 2,600 French, American and Brazilian adults of all ages. The researchers note that the misperception of the caloric value of a dish is observed in consumers of different ages and sexes, and even those with more or less healthy eating habits. “In most cultures hot foods are considered filling and are an important part of main meals. This perception stems from the fact that humans digest hot foods more easily and they expect what hot dishes are tastier. These two factors can explain this false perception ”, specifies Amanda Pruski Yamim, one of the authors of the study.
More fats and carbohydrates are consumed
The study thus shows that the majority of people who opt for a cold dish underestimate its real calorie value. Thus, they tend to choose more foods and consume more calories (+ 31%), fat (+ 37%) and carbohydrates (+ 22%). “These observations are proving to be essential for people with weight problems and obesity. One of the solutions to overcome this problem is toadd hot food for example to a cold salad, ”adds Amanda Pruski Yamim. In addition, the results show, among other things, that the participants in this research were prepared to pay 25% more for a food when it was served or simply labeled hot.
The results discovered by this team of researchers, specialized in decision-making processes and consumer behavior are important. Indeed, it is by providing new knowledge on the psychological processes that underlie the consumption of food in the population that it will be possible to improve knowledge in this area. And this “to help businesses, policy makers and consumers to make better decisions,” she concludes. Because if it is now well established that a diet less rich in sugars, saturated fats, salt and calories and richer in fibers and fruits and vegetables is more health-friendly, applying these recommendations in practice remains an important challenge.