People tend to think of choice as a good thing, but oftentimes too many choices can be problematic. Recent research suggests that this phenomenon can even be applied to pepperoni pizza brands, with the availability of more choices possibly leading people to overeat.
Authored by researchers from the University of Liverpool and the University of Bristol, the study—entitled “So Many Brands and Varieties to Choose from: Does This Compromise the Control of Food Intake in Humans?”—looked at 199 adults who answered an online questionnaire about their pepperoni pizza eating habits. In total, participants named more than 70 different pizza brands they had consumed, including those found in supermarkets and major pizza chains. Researchers then followed up with 66 participants, bringing them in for a test meal. The results showed that those who reported eating a wider array of pizza brands were more likely to overeat in the follow-up test. “We found that people who ate a wide range of different brands and types of pepperoni pizza were more likely to carry on eating more and were more likely to think the pizza was less filling,” Dr. Charlotte Hardman from Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Heath and Society said in a press release.
So why is this the case? Hardman gave her team’s theory: “It would appear that this high variability of food items makes it more difficult for people to learn about food and manage their consumption, which exposes a new feature of Western diets and which has potential public health implications.” Essentially, the study believes that since the wide variety of choices of pepperoni pizza also have a large caloric range (the pizzas named ranged from as low as 501 calories to as high as 1,909 calories per pizza), some people have trouble parsing apart the dietary differences between these seemingly similar products.
Let it be a reminder: Not all pepperoni pizzas are created equal. And we’re not just talking about how sometimes the sauce has too much oregano.
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