Food News Today for Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Hard means healthy? Knife service.

August 23, 2014

Hard Means Healthy?

We all respond to the texture of food. For example, if we don't like the way something feels that often influences how we perceive its taste. But what about how we perceive its nutritional value? According to new research, published in The Journal of Consumer Research, the feel of a dish can influence whether or not we think it's good for us. 

Researchers at the University of South Florida conducted five experiments, in which they asked participants (students at the University) to try foods that were hard, soft, rough or smooth. Then participants estimated how many calories were in those foods.

The students tended to believe that hard foods had fewer calories than their smooth or soft counterparts. And to add another layer into the experiment,  participants were offered brownie bits that were either soft or hard. Left to their own devices, participants who received soft brownies ate more than those who received hard brownies. But when asked to consider the calorie count in each brownie bit while eating,  participants who received hard hard brownies ate more.

As the researchers note, foods  high in fat or calories (ice-cream, butter, cream cheese) do tend to be smoother, softer, and creamier than, say, raw vegetables and cereals, which tend to be crunchy and which generate more friction during chewing. They also tend to be lower in calories.  Over time, those hard-is-healthy associations get reinforced.

Knife Service

If you're looking for a little more personalization when it comes to restaurant cutlery then I have the place for you! On a recent trip to Branson, Missouri I visited a restaurant called Level 2 Steakhouse. Here,  they're offering something pretty unique when it comes to your steak knife. First, you can choose your own! You have 6 different kinds to chose from.   Then if you come here 5 times you'll get your name engraved on a knife and they'll keep it here for you to use every time you come in!  Now that's what I call service!  

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