London: There is reason why few guilty pleasures like abandoning the diet and tucking into a naughty slab of chocolate cake, or mountain of chips always tastes a little bit better, a study suggests.
Researchers from Northwestern University, in Illinois, have found that people who are “primed with guilt” enjoy things more, the Daily Mail reported.
The research was led by Kelly Goldsmith, who said she first came up with the idea when a co-worker, mentioned that she had just joined Weight Watchers.
“She said, ‘Gosh, why does everything just taste better when you’re on a diet?’” Goldsmith said.
“That got me and my advisor talking. Does stuff actually taste better when you’re on a diet? Does stuff taste better when you feel guilty eating it?” she said.
The resulting study was made up of six different experiments.
In the first, researchers split participants into two groups and asked them to view six magazine covers.
Half looked at health related magazine covers and half looked at covers which were completely unrelated.
They were all then given chocolate bars for what they were told was a “taste study,” according to Medical Daily.
All of those who had been reading about healthy eating reported that the chocolate tasted better than those who had not.
A second experiment split around 100 undergraduate students into three groups and asked them to describe three experiences in a few sentences.
It included times that they felt guilty, times that they felt disgusted, and the final third were asked to describe three random times.
Then all the students were given a chocolate truffle to eat.
All of the students who relived their guiltiest moments reported that the chocolate truffle tasted better than the other groups.
The study is published in The Journal of Marketing Research.