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Sugar as Brain Food

This isn’t great news for dieters, but sometimes sugar can be a good thing. Roy Baumeister, a psychologist at Florida State University, had subjects perform a mentally taxing task – watching a video while being careful to ignore random words scrolling across the bottom of the screen. (Apparently, it takes quite a bit of concentration to NOT look at the scrolling words.) Then, the subjects were given a drink of lemonade and asked to perform another cognitively demanding task, choose an apartment based on descriptions of various options.

The catch was that some subjects drank lemonade made with real sugar, and others had lemonade made with Splenda, a sugar substitute without nutritional value. The performance differences on the apartment task were surprising. […]

By |October 29th, 2009|

Dietary Decoys

Imagine two restaurants, one of which sold only french fries as a side dish and another that sold both french fries and salads. Which would sell more fries? While logic might suggest that the salad would poach some of the side dish business, new research shows that adding a salad to the menu INCREASES sales of the less healthy fries!

Neuromarketing readers are used to human behavior being hard to predict and sometimes seemingly inexplicable. In Decoy Marketing, we showed how adding a less-capable product to one’s mix could boost sales of a better product priced the same or a bit more. And Compromise Marketing demonstrated how adding a new, more costly product to the lineup could increase sales of the previous top of the line model. But one has to admit that adding a salad to boost sales of french fries seems counterintuitive. Here’s what the researchers found: […]

By |April 27th, 2009|

Diet Drinks Don’t Fool The Brain

But, a little sugar goes a long way
Diet soft drinks are huge sellers in the U.S. as many consumers use them as a substitute for their calorie-laden sugary bretheren. The good news is that the flavor of these products have improved over time. Of late, Coke Zero ads have focused on humorous “taste infringement” legal action by regular Coke. The bad news: your brain isn’t fooled as easily as your taste buds, and readily distiguishes between sugar substitutes and the real thing. The news isn’t all bad, though. There’s new research that shows that a mere taste of sugar can go a long way. […]

By |April 24th, 2009|