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Nutrients 2015, 7(6), 4638-4660; doi:10.3390/nu7064638

I Eat Healthier Than You: Differences in Healthy and Unhealthy Food Choices for Oneself and for Others

1
Psychological Assessment and Health Psychology, University of Konstanz, P.O. Box 47, Konstanz 78457, Germany
2
General Psychology, University of Konstanz, P.O. Box 36, Konstanz 78457, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 April 2015 / Revised: 11 May 2015 / Accepted: 1 June 2015 / Published: 9 June 2015
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Abstract

The present study investigated self-other biases in actual eating behavior based on the observation of three different eating situations. To capture the complexity of real life food choices within a well-controlled setting, an ecologically valid fake food buffet with 72 different foods was employed. Sixty participants chose a healthy, a typical, and an unhealthy meal for themselves and for an average peer. We found that the typical meal for the self was more similar to the healthy than to the unhealthy meal in terms of energy content: The mean difference between the typical and healthy meals was MΔ = 1368 kJ (327 kcal) as compared to a mean difference between the typical and unhealthy meals of MΔ = 3075 kJ (735 kcal). Moreover, there was evidence that people apply asymmetrical standards for themselves and others: Participants chose more energy for a peer than for themselves (M = 4983 kJ or 1191 kcal on average for the peers’ meals vs. M = 3929 kJ or 939 kcal on average for the own meals) and more high-caloric food items for a typical meal, indicating a self-other bias. This comparatively positive self-view is in stark contrast to epidemiological data indicating overall unhealthy eating habits and demands further examination of its consequences for behavior change. View Full-Text
Keywords: fake food buffet; food choice; self-other bias; optimism in eating behavior fake food buffet; food choice; self-other bias; optimism in eating behavior
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sproesser, G.; Kohlbrenner, V.; Schupp, H.; Renner, B. I Eat Healthier Than You: Differences in Healthy and Unhealthy Food Choices for Oneself and for Others. Nutrients 2015, 7, 4638-4660.

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