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NewsBites June 2017 Issue

Don't Like a Healthy Food? Try It Again (and Again)

Dislike healthy foods like legumes (beans)? Maybe you just haven't eaten them enough. "A primary factor that determines whether people like a food or not is their previous exposure to the food - in other words, if it's a regular part of their diet," says Megan McCrory, PhD, a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University and senior author of a new study on the topic in the journal Foods. Her team gave 42 overweight or obese adults (who weren't regular legume eaters) a series of legume-based dishes and control foods over a six-week period. They were part of a three-week rotating menu for weight loss.

Repeated exposure to the foods (whether they contained legumes or not) resulted in about a 4% increase in overall flavor pleasantness scores. Ratings didn't change for foods not given during the intervention but used in taste tests. To learn to like a healthy food, McCrory suggests eating a small amount initially (gradually increasing to a standard serving) and pairing it with a food you like.

To learn more: Foods, February 2017

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