What Is The ‘Dieter’s Paradox’?

There is a massive amount of information that we are being bombarded with, about healthy eating, and most of us know what food is good for us and what is bad. And yet obesity levels in the US keep rising. Why is this?

According to a study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Alexander Chernev, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, it is due to what he calls the Dieter’s Paradox.

dieters paradoxSo what is the dieter’s paradox? According to Chernev, people made erroneous assumptions about their food and made incorrect eating choices based on this.

For instance, people who are concerned with their weight assume that eating a hamburger with an apple is somehow better than eating only the hamburger; that the former meal contains fewer calories than the latter meal.

A person with Dieter’s Paradox will gauge the calorie content of a burger and an apple as being 200 calories, and the calorie content of only the burger as having 250 calories.

However, the simple fact is that a hamburger plus an apple is more calories than just a hamburger. So this mistaken assumption that healthy foods somehow eliminate unhealthy calories – this irrationality that sometimes accompanies dieting – is what the Dieter’s Paradox is all about.