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Appetite. 2019 Aug 1;143:104392. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.104392. [Epub ahead of print]

Impact of pleasure-oriented messages on food choices: is it more effective than traditional health-oriented messages to promote healthy eating?

Author information

1
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440 boulevard Hochelaga, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada; School of Nutrition, Laval University, 2425 rue de l'Agriculture, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada. Electronic address: catherine.trudel-guy.1@ulaval.ca.
2
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440 boulevard Hochelaga, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada. Electronic address: alexandra.bedard.1@ulaval.ca.
3
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440 boulevard Hochelaga, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada. Electronic address: louise.corneau@fsaa.ulaval.ca.
4
Department of Information and Communication, Laval University, 1055 avenue du Séminaire, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada; Québec Heart and Lung Institute, 2725 chemin Sainte-Foy, Québec, G1V 4G5, QC, Canada. Electronic address: ariane.belanger-gravel@com.ulaval.ca.
5
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440 boulevard Hochelaga, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada; School of Nutrition, Laval University, 2425 rue de l'Agriculture, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada. Electronic address: sophie.desroches@fsaa.ulaval.ca.
6
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440 boulevard Hochelaga, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada; School of Psychology, Laval University, 2325 rue des Bibliothèques, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada. Electronic address: catherine.begin@psy.ulaval.ca.
7
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440 boulevard Hochelaga, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada; School of Nutrition, Laval University, 2425 rue de l'Agriculture, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada. Electronic address: veronique.provencher@fsaa.ulaval.ca.
8
Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440 boulevard Hochelaga, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada; School of Nutrition, Laval University, 2425 rue de l'Agriculture, Québec, G1V 0A6, QC, Canada. Electronic address: simone.lemieux@fsaa.ulaval.ca.

Abstract

Some authors have suggested that eating pleasure is underused to promote healthy eating. However, little is known about the potential of pleasure-oriented messages to lead to healthier food choices. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of pleasure- and health-oriented messages on food choices made from a buffet. One hundred and ninety-eight participants (50% women), unaware of the real objective of the study, were randomized in three groups: 1) pleasure, 2) health, and 3) control. They first completed three 24 h food recalls to assess their overall diet quality using the Canadian Healthy Eating Index (C-HEI; score: 0 to 100). Thereafter, participants came to the research institute and those randomized in the "pleasure" and "health" groups read a leaflet on healthy eating, using either a pleasure or a health orientation respectively. Participants in the control group had no leaflet to read. All participants had subsequently to choose four food items in a buffet offering both healthy and unhealthy foods. Results showed a group by diet quality interaction (p = 0.02). Among participants with lower diet quality (C-HEI score below 50), those in the pleasure and health groups were more likely than participants in the control group to choose a healthier main course (prevalence ratios (PR) 1.71, 95% CI 1.12-2.62 and 1.83, 95% CI 1.21-2.77 for the pleasure and health group respectively) and a healthier beverage (PR 1.67, 95% CI 1.02-2.71 and 1.66, 95% CI 1.02-2.72, respectively). No such effect was observed among participants with higher C-HEI scores. In conclusion, our results suggest that in people with sub-optimal dietary habits, pleasure-oriented messages and traditional health messages are both useful to favor healthy main course and beverage choices.

KEYWORDS:

Eating pleasure; Food behavior; Health communication; Social marketing

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