July 12, 2006

People with a sweet tooth eat more fruit, study finds

People who like sweets eat more fruit than salty-snack lovers, and people who love fruit eat more sweets than vegetable lovers do, according to two Cornell University analyses.

"If we know a person likes one type of food, this kind of study helps us better predict what other types of foods he or she might prefer," said Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab that studies the psychology behind what people eat and how often they eat it. By better understanding how various foods, such as sweets, are linked by preference, strategies used to market such sweet snacks as candy bars, for example, could be incorporated into an educational program to increase the consumption of fruit.

To see how much fruit sweet and salty-snack lovers ate, Wansink used the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals. To determine whether fruit lovers eat more sweets than vegetable lovers, Wansink analyzed the results of a snack consumption survey of 770 individuals.

The study is published in the August issue of Appetite.