Carrot cake or carrot sticks?
… sometimes it’s a difficult choice.
… sometimes it’s an easy one.
If we are trying to reduce our size and change our shape, choosing the cake may feel like a fialure of self-control.
But not always.
Researchers at City University London have discovered that feeling of having “given in to temptation” doesn’t depend on whether you choose the cake or the vegetable: it depends on if you think you will regret your choice in the future.
If someone, who is weight conscious, ate a slice of carrot cake, they might think they had a “self-control failure” but only because they imagined they would regret that choice later.
But if that same person only ate a small piece of cake, that might not be enough to trigger the future feelings of regret. And therefore they would not see it as a “failure” – they’d just seeing it eating a small piece of nice cake.
“If a person is comfortable with their weight and does not anticipate to regret in advance their food consumption choices, then we cannot say that person lacks self-control.”Dr Irene Scopelliti, associate professor of marketing at Cass Business School.
“It is not the consumption of cake that automatically signals a self-control failure, it is whether consumers believe that they may regret their food choice in the future; our research demonstrates that health and pleasure are not necessarily in conflict.”Dr Irene Scopelliti, associate professor of marketing at Cass Business School.
This plays into the false perception that food is either “good” or “bad, which is an incorrect over-simplification.