VANCAVER, British Columbia – “Do you want potatoes with that?” This is a long-standing question that fast food buyers know well. However, is the relentless advertising of sugary, fatty foods and fatty foods something that people can overcome? Researchers at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, British Columbia, say that marketing schemes are more tempting for some than for others, but losing weight can change that.
According to Ian Cornell, an associate professor at the UBC School of Business, people with weight problems are vulnerable to the almost constant bombardment of advertising campaigns that force us to look for something to satisfy our sweet-and-salty cravings.
Canadian-French researchers, however, found that this tendency to decline in psychological sales could change. When people simply lose significant weight through diet, exercise, or surgery, it can change their vulnerability to marketing strategies.
Framing affects how people view healthy, unhealthy foods
For the study, the researchers collected data on three groups of people over a 12-month period. Two of the three groups included people with severe obesity. One of these two groups planned bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass grafting or another weight loss operation. The second group of group obese patients had no surgery plans. The third (control) group consisted of individuals of normal weight.
The researchers collected data on study participants at three different intervals based on the surgical team schedule. These include three months before surgery, three months after surgery, and 12 months after surgery.
The researchers designed the study to measure responses to marketing strategies that influence food choices. These “framework effects” include how food is branded, advertised and labeled.
Study participants were first asked to rate the number of calories in the market for regular snacks (beverages – which are usually healthy (for example, apple juice – granola), and others – as healthy (for example, soft drinks – chocolate bars).
The researchers found that each participant underestimated the caloric content of “healthy” snacks, but the calculation was especially for people with obesity.
Size is important for consumers
Bringing the effect of the framework to the next level, the researchers provided nutritional information for the hypothetical parts of fried fast food potatoes. The three size options were fixed: 71 grams, 117 grams և 154 grams. What changed was the wording. In one case, the team labeled the parts as small, medium, or large. In another case, they labeled the parts mini, small, medium. a marketing scheme designed to deceive consumers that larger doses are not so great.
“We measured how sensitive people are to this range, whether it would change the number of fried potatoes depending on the labeling of the parts,” Dr. Cornell said in a statement.
He notes that people with obesity tend to let the label influence their decisions, and are more likely to choose “medium” fries when the portion is actually large.
Although researchers claim that people with obesity are more vulnerable to food marketing when the same people lose a lot of weight after bariatric surgery, marketing strategies become less tempting for patients.
“People with Ari obstruction who undergo bariatric surgery are less likely to respond to marketing over time,” says Cornell. “And 12 months later, their response to marketing reaches the level of people who have more medical weight.”
Fighting obesity is more mental than physical.
Researchers do not know whether the changes are the result of physiological changes caused by surgery, hormonal, neurological or intestinal microbiota, or due to different lifestyle choices made after surgery. Cornill says another possible reason is that tastes may change after bariatric surgery.
“The results clearly suggest a two-way impact on people’s weight status, psychology ‘response to the environment’, including marketing,” Cornell said. “So it’s a complicated relationship.”
The research team believes that the results of the study show some reasons for optimism in the fight against obesity. If the results were different, they would not change after weight loss, the researchers said, which would mean that the cause of obesity is probably in the deep-rooted predisposition.
“It will mean that people have unchanging psychological characteristics that will make them more responsive to marketing, which will make it very difficult to maintain the medically recommended weight,” Cornell suggests. “But one of the positive things is that after significant weight loss, people are less responsive to marketing, so it is more stable to stay at a lower body mass index.”
Researchers say the study’s findings are significant because it has been suggested for years that junk food advertising is at least partly to blame for the obesity epidemic. But there was not enough to confirm the data.
“Our results provide insights for policymakers who are responsible for regulating food marketing to curb obesity,” Cornell concluded.
The findings appear Journal of Consumer Psychology.