The best of both worlds? Studies on healthy indulgences and their effects on food intake control

N.V.T. Belei

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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This dissertation investigates the effects of healthy indulgences (i.e., indulgent foods featuring front-of package claims such as “extra antioxidants”, “low-fat”, “reduced sugar”, or “with vitamins”) on consumers’ ability to control their food consumption. The research shows that exposure to indulgences carrying functional health claims (e.g., “with antioxidants”) leads to reduced consumption, whereas exposure to indulgences carrying hedonic health claims (e.g., “low-fat”) stimulates increased consumption relative to a regular food packaging featuring no claims. These findings have broad relevance to the food industry in that they highlight the negative repercussion of the currently popular strategy of offering healthier alternatives of inherently unhealthy foods, when the attributes the claims stress are of functional nature. For public policy makers, the findings might provide some comfort that not all marketing efforts aimed at promoting more wholesome alternatives of indulgent foods necessarily have negative consequences regarding consumers’ eating patterns; in that functional health claims potentially help consumers to control how much they eat.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Lemmink, Jos, Supervisor
  • Ramanathan, S., Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date5 Jul 2012
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789461591609
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • healthy indulgences
  • consumption
  • self-control


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