Ever been out to dinner and ordered something just because it sounded tasty? Do words have the potential to change our eating habits? Recent experimental research conducted by Bradley Trunwald and colleagues found that people are more likely to choose vegetables as a meal component when described using indulgent (e.g., zesty ginger-turmeric sweet potatoes) language compared to other types of language descriptors, such as healthy (e.g., wholesome sweet potato superfood). Such slight variations in language changed peoples’ food consumption, and the subtle manipulation of food cognitions via language use has the potential to drive healthier food choices downstream.
In other words, the words we assign to our food has the ability to influence whether or not we choose to eat that food.