Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Should we play hide-and-go-seek with our children's vegetables?

02.03.2012
A study reveals that vegetables may not have to hide

Pass the peas please! How often do we hear our children say this? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey of adolescents, only 21% of our children eat the recommended 5 or more fruits and vegetables per day. So not very many children are asking their parents to "pass the peas," and parents are resorting to other methods to get their children to eat their vegetables.

One popular method is hiding vegetables. There are even cookbooks devoted to doing this and new food products promise they contain vegetable servings but don't taste like vegetables! But this ''sneaky'' technique has been controversial, as some dietitians, doctors, and parents have argued that sneaking vegetables into food does not promote increased vegetable consumption because children are unaware they are eating vegetables, and are not likely to continue the practice into adulthood. A study in the March/April 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that informing children of the presence of vegetables hidden within snack food may or may not alter taste preference. Acceptability of the vegetable-enriched snack food may depend on the frequency of prior exposure to the vegetable.

Chickpea chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip cookies? Investigators from Columbia University enrolled 68 elementary and middle school children and asked just that question. In each pair, one sample's label included the food's vegetable (eg, broccoli gingerbread spice cake), and one sample's label did not (eg, gingerbread spice cake). Participants reported whether the samples tasted the same, or whether they preferred one sample. What the children didn't know was that both samples contained the nutritious vegetable. The investigators found that taste preferences did not differ for the labeled versus the unlabeled sample of zucchini chocolate chip bread or broccoli gingerbread spice cake. However, students preferred the unlabeled cookies (ie, chocolate chip cookies) over the vegetable-labeled version (ie, chickpea chocolate chip cookies). The investigators also assessed the frequency of consumption for the three vegetables involved and chickpeas were consumed less frequently (81% had not tried in past year) as compared to zucchini and broccoli.

Ms. Lizzy Pope, MS, RD, the principal investigator of this study states, "The present findings are somewhat unanticipated in that we were expecting students to prefer all three of the ''unlabeled'' samples. These findings are consistent with previous literature on neophobia that suggests that children are less apt to like food with which they are unfamiliar. Since the majority of students had had broccoli and zucchini within the past year (as compared to chickpeas), it appears that there must be some familiarity with a vegetable for the labeling of the vegetable content not to influence taste preference. Considering this then, it is not surprising that the unlabeled version of the chickpea chocolate chip cookies was preferred over the labeled version."

Dr. Randi Wolf, PhD, MPH, co-investigator adds, "Food products labeled with health claims may be perceived as tasting different than those without health claims, even though they are not objectively different. I've even read studies that have shown children like baby carrots better when they are presented in McDonald's packaging. These prior studies suggest the potential power that food labels can have on individuals. Although anecdotal reports suggest that children may not eat food products that they know contain vegetables, little is actually known about how children's taste preferences may be affected when the vegetable content of a snack food item is apparent on the item's label. This study is important in that it may contribute knowledge of the potential effectiveness of a novel way to promote vegetable consumption in children."

Based on what the investigators learned from this study, it seems more important to introduce our children to a variety of vegetables rather than continually hiding them.

The article is "The Influence of Labeling the Vegetable Content of Snack Food on Children's Taste Preferences: A Pilot Study" by Lizzy Pope, MS, RD and Randi L. Wolf, PhD, MPH. It appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 44, Issue 2 (March/April 2012) published by Elsevier.

In an accompanying podcast, Lizzy Pope, MS, RD, discusses the results and implications this study. It is available at www.jneb.org/content/podcast.

Francesca Costanzo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.elsevier.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>