SIRC – Media Watch 07-07-99
Forbidden Fruit and restricted snacks
A report published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has concluded that restricting children's access to certain foods actually increases their desire to obtain and consume those foods. SIRC's own research has identified this trend as the 'Forbidden-fruit effect', a common response to authoritarian warnings which increases the desire for the 'forbidden' substance or activity. In many cases, the constant stream of warnings, scares and bans leads to deliberate defiance which is exhibited most significantly among the young. Any dieting technique that centres on the limitation of certain food items will not offer an effective way of promoting and controlling the consumption of palatable foods. Indeed, it can actually encourage the consumption of food that should be restricted in the diet. The AJCN study suggested that the children who experienced the most restrictive diet at home were the very individuals that were most likely to experience weight problems. So parents, keeping the sweets out of reach may not be the answer.