I really love organic food—I get happy going to Whole Foods—but a new study made me think. We may believe that organic foods are nutritious and that they taste better, but, according to new research, our minds may be playing tricks on us.
A total of 144 people participated in a double blind, controlled trial at a mall, according to this press release. (Yep…a mall. But keep reading!) Graduate student Jenny Wan-chen Lee of Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics asked participants to taste and evaluate several products: “conventional” and “organically produced” chocolate sandwich cookies, plain yogurt, and potato chips. But—and this is the important part—all of the products were actually organic.
Lee found some interesting results:
- Participants preferred the taste of almost all of the “organically labeled” food, even though those foods were the same as the “conventional” products.
- Participants thought organically labeled foods were significantly lower in calories, lower in fat, and higher in fiber.
- Overall, participants thought the organically-labeled chips and cookies were “more nutritious” than their conventional counterparts.
It’s reported that Lee is the “first to acknowledge” that the study’s variety of foods is limited, though she’s confident that these kinds of assumptions (called the “halo effect”) are important when it comes to what we eat and how much. (People who think they’re eating nutritious food may be more likely to consume more calories or overeat.)
My take-home point? Even if our organic cookies and chips taste delicious, their labeling does not make it okay to always eat supersize portions!
So what do you think? Do organic foods really taste better, or do we just like them because of their labels?
Image: Master isolated images