We can dial for takeout. We can go to a fast-food drive-through, a fine-dining restaurant or a food truck. And now, we can click, click, click and send our grocery order for same-day doorstep delivery by Uber, Lyft, Amazon and others. Choices abound for ways to procure our food.

Oddly enough, the manner in which we actually order it may affect our health, says a study published in 2015 in the Journal of Consumer Research. Researchers say we’re more likely to order indulgent foods when speaking—versus using our hands—to place an order. “Merely changing the way consumers express their decision influences what they choose. Those who choose verbally, by speaking into a microphone or directly to a person, select more indulgent options (higher-calorie snacks) than those who choose manually, by pressing buttons or writing,” said authors Anne-Kathrin Klesse, PhD (Tilburg University, The Netherlands), Jonathan Levav, PhD (Stanford University, California), and Caroline Goukens, PhD (Maastricht University, The Netherlands).

Why does the way we choose influence our decisions? “The way people express decisions activates different regions of the brain and may influence the extent to
which emotions rather than cognitions determine a decision. We speculate that
speaking may elicit greater impulsiveness and less reflection than manual
expression,” said the authors.

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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