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This Pathologist knows the trick to avoid Junk Food

Dr Sampurna Roy MD


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" Mirror mirror on the wall, which is the healthy food of them all? "

You are a health conscious pathologist. It is festive season and you are worried that your family and close friends will be tempted to eat unhealthy food. It is difficult to resist mouth-watering burgers with ketchup, chips, grilled processed meat, pizza, cookies and cakes with cream cheese frosting. 

One simple trick can solve your problem. Put mirrors on all the walls of your dining room.

Ata Jami of the University of Central Florida explains, "A glance in the mirror tells people more than just about their physical appearance. It enables them to view themselves objectively and helps them to judge themselves and their behaviors in a same way that they judge others."  

He found that mirrors can push people to compare and match their behaviors with social standards of correctness.

Accordingly, when one fails to follow the standards, he/she does not want to look at a mirror because it enhances the discomfort of the failure.

 Thus, the presence of a mirror induces a discomfort and lowers the perceived taste of the unhealthy food.

This only holds true if the food is selected by the diner because then he/she feels responsible for the food choice. Eating healthy does not induce any discomfort and, as a result, mirror does not change the taste of healthy food.

This research suggests that placing a mirror in dining rooms and other eating spaces so that diners can see themselves eat, can be an effective way for individuals and restaurants to encourage healthier eating practices. 

Reference: Healthy Reflections - Mirrors Can Make Unhealthy Foods Less Tasty -Jami, Ata (2016). Healthy Reflections: The Influence of Mirror Induced Self-Awareness on Taste Perceptions. The Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.


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Dr  Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)







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