The Health Halo Effect
The holiday season is a beautiful time. It’s a time for family to get together. It’s a time to express to your loved ones how much they truly mean to you by buying them lavish presents and to all of the self-proclaimed foodies out there, it’s the best time for them! They finally get a free pass to eat and drink whatever the hell they want to.
It’s time for the Kale and Quinoa lovers to put those salads aside and enjoy some Chocolate fudge pie (nice rhyme, right?). If you’re that type of person, much respect to you for being so disciplined about what you eat; but there are some folks out there who just don’t know or don’t care what they consume. They wish they could be discipline, but they don’t fully understand what’s healthy and what’s not.
They may assume that because it sounds healthy, like an apple pie, it’s good for you because there are apples in apple pie. Or maybe even something like a buffalo chicken salad with breaded chicken – even though the chicken is breaded, it’s okay because they’re eating lettuce and other fruits and vegetables on top of the salad, right?
It’s an effect that many of us deal with daily, but have no knowledge of. It’s called the health halo effect and it’s something many of us suffer from daily.
According to The Guardian, the health halo effect refers to the act of overestimating the healthfulness of an item based on a single claim, such as being low in calories or low in fat. Many people often times confuse the difference between low fat and low calories, which results in an over consumption of foods. Just because people are cognizant of what they eat, doesn’t mean they are eating healthy. They could be misinformed and misguided about what they are putting in their bodies.
A research done at the Cornell University Food and Brain Lab showed that the American trend of eating healthy has been growing over the past few years at 6% each year. However, the obesity rates have risen at a rate of 3% each year. Just because people are eating at what may be known as a healthy restaurant, they may not be eating particularly healthy.
With the new year approaching, people will make their standard resolution to eat healthier and become more cognizant about the foods they eat. However they could use some help from those who know exactly what is healthy and what is not. Those people are the owners of the restaurants these people eat at every day.
Have you noticed that more and more grab-and-go restaurants are listing how many calories and grams of fat are in each dish? It’s an excellent idea and marketing tool for each business. If people want to track how many calories they are intaking per meal, they may continue to eat at that particular restaurant. Everyone is always driven to try and eat healthier and these restaurants are assisting their customers so they can track the number of calories they intake per meal.
The new year can bring new trends for restaurants and that new trend can be listing each dish’s calories and grams of fat per meal. A tedious, yet very simple task for restaurant owners to oblige by in the new year that could potentially bring in more business.
By restaurants incorporating this simple task, it would help eliminate the health halo that surrounds restaurant consumers daily, simply by helping the consumers become more knowledgable about the nutritional information in each meal. However, in order for this to work, I’d suggest a certain type of nutritional seminar for restaurant owners to partake in a couple of times a year, just so they are staying 100% up-to-date with this information.
It’s up to the owners to make sure to put every bit of information on their menus so they are not cheating their customers out of what is most healthy for them. Because if they cheat their consumers on the healthy items on their menu, what is preventing their consumers from cheating on what foods they digest?