You know all the "baked" potato chips and "light" yogurt you've been eating since starting your diet? According to new research, you might as well be eating the real thing. That's because people who choose "light" snacks and beverages are "likely to eat 13 percent more calories than people eating full fat snacks," The Huffington Post reports.
This finding comes from a new study out of the International Journal of Research in Marketing. It's not that low-calorie snacks and sodas are making us hungrier, though. According to the study, we have our psychological response to product packaging to blame. "It’s easier to justify overindulging when a food is labeled as healthier," quotes the Huffington Post of the study's lead author Joost Pennings. In other words, when we see the words "light," "diet," or "guilt-free" on a container, it tricks us into thinking we can eat as much as we want. This leads us to consume even more calories in the end.
These findings align with a familiar concept called the "health halo." A study from late last year showed that people who consume diet soda are more likely to binge on other junk foods later. "[People] feel less guilty about consuming more calories after drinking a diet beverage, and therefore they feel justified in eating muffins or chips," researcher Ruopeng An told the Huffington Post.
The solution? Instead of consuming processed "diet" snacks, reach for foods that are naturally "guilt-free." For example, try one of these deliciously filling green smoothies.
Learn more about calories and nutrition with the fascinating read below!
What's your favorite healthy snack? Let us know in the comments below!