Pictures Beat Numbers for Sugar Avoidance
Would you be less likely to guzzle that 20-ounce cola if the bottle pictured a pyramid of 26 sugar cubes—an amount equal to the 65 grams of sugar in the soda? A new study published in the journal Appetite suggests that such visual representations can help consumers avoid added sugars, and that the effect lasts beyond the initial drink-or-no-drink decision. In a series of four experiments, researchers tested participants’ ability to understand representations of sugar in grams (one sugar cube equals 2.5 grams) and reactions to seeing those quantities pictured as stacks of sugar cubes. After seeing the sugar cubes, participants rated sugary drinks as less attractive and reported they would be less likely to consume them. In an ostensibly unrelated experiment, those who’d learned to think of grams in terms of sugar cubes were later less likely to select sugar-sweetened beverages.