When healthy foods are first, eaters are less likely to desire the higher calorie dishes later in the line, says a new Cornell University behavioral study in PLOS ONE. The researchers offered two breakfast buffets to 124 people. In one, diners saw healthy food like fruit, low-fat yogurt and low-fat granola first.
At the other buffet, dinners saw high-calorie offerings such as cheesy eggs, fried potatoes and bacon first. The results showed that the first three food items a person encountered in the buffet comprised 66 percent of their total plate, regardless of whether the items were high or low-calorie foods. Specifically, 86 percent of diners took fruit when it was offered first, but only 54 percent took fruit when it was offered last.
About 75 percent of diners took cheesy eggs when they were offered first, compared with only 29 percent who dished them up when they were offered last.