According to a new study, waiting for food, even for just 25 seconds, could reportedly curb the desire for unhealthy food. Research on the matter was carried out with help from DISC or the “Delays to Influence Snack Choice”.
The study results were presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s annual meeting, which took place last week. Research was led by Brad Appelhans, an associate professor of preventive medicine part of the Rush University Medical Center. He is the developer of DISC.
This is a device which can fit inside a vending machine. Depending on the desired snack choice, this will either offer the good instantly or with a 25-seconds delay. Customers will also be notified of this delay via a message on the display window.
According to Appelhans, “We were interested in the ability to test whether time delays can nudge people to healthier choices”.
Waiting For Food For 25 Seconds Could Come To Influence The Food Choice
DISC was tested for several months as it was placed in vending machines around Rush University. The team also introduced a set of algorithms which would determine the “healthy/unhealthy” criteria. In order to qualify as ‘healthy’, they had to meet 5 out of 7 criteria.
For example, they have to come with less than 250 calories or 350 mg of sodium. Also, they would have to have less than 10 mg of added sugars per each serving. Appelhans also tweaked the snacks’ pricing, by lowering or raising them.
According to him, the study results showed that people started choosing healthier food based on this delay. Following a slight price increase, this trend was even higher.
As it is, the study met with both enthusiasm and skepticism. Nonetheless, its lead researcher is hoping to further test out the theory that waiting for food could help curb unhealthy product cravings.
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