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Research on how diet and health labels influence taste or satiation shows mixed findings that are study–specific and difficult to generalize. We offer a potential explanation to these inconsistencies. Results from a controlled cafeteria study suggest that health and diet labels might improve the perceived taste of less healthy, hedonic foods (such as desserts and possibly snack foods) without influencing the taste of more healthy utilitarian foods (such as entrées or possibly yogurt and soy foods). These findings have immediate implications for reinterpreting past research findings that may have gone unnoticed because they appeared inconsistent with conventional thinking.
Wansink, Brian, Koert van Ittersum, and James E. Painter (2004). How Diet and Health Labels Influence Taste and Satiation. Journal of Food Science, 69:9, S340–S346. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2621.2004.tb09946.x.