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Drinking water may help people make healthier food choices
05.15.2012The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that most adults consume about five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. However, very few people actually meet these goals. In order to eat more fruits and vegetables and stop eating less healthy options, individuals may simply need to drink water with their meals, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Oregon and Michigan State University found that people are more likely to choose nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables when they are drinking water with their meal than when they choose sugary beverages like soda. The findings could help individuals simply make major changes in their diets.
For the study, the researchers surveyed a group of 60 adults about their preferred food and drink pairings. In a separate arm of the investigation, the team tested the voluntary food choices of preschoolers after giving the participants a series of different beverages.
The results showed that the adults tended to say they preferred pairing sugary sodas with salty, high-calorie foods. For example, many said they would pair sugar-sweetened beverages with fasts food. The second phase of the study revealed that children were more likely to choose vegetables after drinking water than they were after drinking other sweeter beverages.
The researchers said that the taste preferences of most people have been trained over many years. While there is nothing intrinsically more satisfying about the pairing of soda and salty food, people come to associate the two. Breaking these mental associations could play an important role in improving the diets of millions of people.
Healthcare and wellness programs may provide counseling that enables people to overcome unhealthy beverage choices.
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