Rebellion at the restaurant – Healthy eating gone wrong?


Check out the surprising news in this recent Reuters article about the adverse effects of healthy menu items on people’s health. Although it discusses a small study of  70 undergraduate students, the results are surprising:

•    37% chose a bacon cheeseburger when the menu alternatives included a veggie burger (other options were a chicken or fish sandwich)
•    only 17% picked the bacon cheeseburger when the veggie burger wasn’t on the menu.
Dr. Gavan J. Fitzsimons of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina led the study and observed that “Because the healthy option is there, it somehow satisfies this healthy eating goal in them and then they felt liberated to sort of go crazy and choose something really, really bad for them.”

It’s like he’s been watching me. Seriously. I’ve ordered dessert with a ‘What the hell? We only live once!’ victory cry on numerous occasions when I’ve been out with the girls. Even at home, I rebel on occasion; for instance, I buy skim milk for myself but then sneak sips of my son’s homogenized milk. Shameful behaviour, I know.

Has this kind of rebellious impulse ever thwarted your good eating intentions?


12 Responses to Rebellion at the restaurant – Healthy eating gone wrong?

  1. Barb says:

    Ooooooo Dana – you bad. (As if no one else has ever been bad) As for me? No, I don’t order something bad for me in public. I wait until I get home and then make it. Or I’ll order something to go and take it home to shovell it in in private. Now THATs bad. I’m better than I was but I hate it when I do that.

  2. “Vicarious goal fulfillment” is an interesting term, but I see a flaw in their research. They used undergrads. I’d love to see the numbers if they studied Baby Boomers — the largest portion of our current population and far more health conscious. It’s easy to say “What the hell” when you’re in your 20s.

    Interesting findings, but not all that surprising given the age of the participants.

  3. […] original here:  Rebellion at the restaurant – Healthy eating gone wrong? « Dana … Share and […]

  4. Daniel says:

    Hi Dana,

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a “what the hell, we only live once” moment on occasion. Healthy eating is all about moderation in every sense of the word, including being moderate in your overindulgence. No need to be ashamed of sipping some whole milk once in a while!

    Casual Kitchen

  5. Cheryl A says:

    Well I wouldn’t order the veggie burger because I’ve never had a good one. Can’t often go wrong with bacon and beef, however.

    Unfortunately, I’m saying “what the hell” every day!

  6. Morgan says:

    I completely agree with his statement! It seems like every time I go to a restaurant I am thinking in my head “I’m going to get something healthy. I’m going to get a salad. I will make a wise choice.” And then once I’m there the salad makes the burger look sooooo much better! And it’s the same “what the hell” thing going on. Restaurants are a treat, right? lol

  7. Diva says:

    Oh please, I fail this particular test only every single weekend! 😉

    As for the study, I agree with Charmian. Far easier to say what the hell when you’re barely out of the womb. I, too, would be curious to see the results for my own age group.

  8. danamccauley says:

    Good point Charmian & Diva!

  9. cheryl says:

    I know for sure that if I eat something light and healthy for dinner I’m more likely to justify a bowl of ice cream before bed. It’s not something I do consciously, but I do it nonetheless. (I eat burgers rarely, but when I do, dessert seems like much less of a draw.)

  10. Heather says:

    If I go fastfood, I’m not there to eat healthy. Besides any veggie burger I’ve tried has been gross. I’d rather eat a salad, then I can have a nice dessert without too much worry.

  11. […] Rebellion at the restaurant – Healthy eating gone wrong? « Dana … […]

  12. […]If you able to always stay on your healthy eating plan you’ll feel that eating healthy foods isn’t a diet but it’ll become your living habit[…]

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