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JOURNAL ARTICLE

From the Garden of Eden to the land of plenty. Restriction of fruit and sweets intake leads to increased fruit and sweets consumption in children

Esther Jansen, Sandra Mulkens, Yvette Emond, Anita Jansen
Appetite 2008, 51 (3): 570-5
18501474
Overweight is increasing rapidly in children, compelling researchers to seek for determinants of adverse food intake. In a previous experiment it was found that manipulating the restriction of attractive snacks increased the desirability and intake of these snacks. In the present study, we tested whether this paradoxical restricting effect is also seen in relatively less attractive but healthy food, i.e. fruit. Will fruit become more desirable through restriction, and will children eat more forbidden fruit than non-forbidden fruit? Two groups of young children were forbidden to eat fruits and sweets, respectively, whereas a control group was invited to eat everything. Desire for sweets remained high in the sweets-prohibition condition, whereas it decreased in the fruit-prohibition and no-prohibition conditions. No group differences were found regarding the desire for fruit. With respect to intake, children in both the fruit- and the sweets-prohibition condition consumed more of the formerly forbidden food during a taste session as compared to the no-prohibition condition. In addition, total food intake was higher in the two prohibition conditions than in the no-prohibition condition. These data indicate that the adverse effects of restriction apply to both attractive unhealthy and relatively less attractive but healthy food.

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