Focusing on Future Consequences Enhances Self-Controlled Dietary Choices

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


Self-controlled dietary decisions, i.e., choosing a healthier food over a tastier one, are a major challenge for many people. Despite the potential profound consequences of frequent poor choices, maintaining a healthy diet proves challenging. This raises the question of how to facilitate self-controlled food decisions to promote healthier choices. The present study compared the influence of implicit and explicit information on food choices and their underlying decision processes. Participants watched two video clips as an implicit manipulation to induce different mindsets. Instructions to focus on either the short-term or long-term consequences of choices served as an explicit manipulation. Participants performed a binary food choice task, including foods with different health and taste values. The choice was made using a computer mouse, whose trajectories we used to calculate the influence of the food properties. Instruction to focus on long-term consequences compared to short-term consequences increased the number of healthy choices, reduced response times for healthy decisions, and increased the influence of health aspects during the decision-making process. The effect of video manipulation showed greater variability. While focusing on long-term consequences facilitated healthy food choices and reduced the underlying decision conflict, the current mindset appeared to have a minor influence.


Original languageEnglish
Article number89
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-4408-6016/work/149795514
ORCID /0000-0002-1005-0090/work/149796420
ORCID /0000-0002-9064-6408/work/149798116
ORCID /0000-0003-4910-3468/work/149798568
Mendeley 366856f6-cd46-39e9-8df5-eec95b1df16e
unpaywall 10.3390/nu16010089
Scopus 85181956646