Would you like Salad or Fries?

Say you sit down to have a simple hamburger of some sort. A member of the wait staff dutifully takes your order and then asks you the question that some of us dread:

“Would you like fries with that?”

This is the moment that tests our mettle. Getting the hamburger was bad enough, but now? Now we either commit to the debauchery of the burger/fries, or we have to rationalize our poor health choice by having the salad in order to “offset” whatever horrible things the hamburger is supposed to bring to our body. We look at the menu to see what kind of salad they have.

The moment of truth comes. What do we do?

According to the Journal of Consumer Research, we head to the fries like paparazzi to a celebrity.

In one study, college students were given one of two menus. One menu featured French fries, chicken nuggets and a baked potato; the other included those same items as well as a salad. The French fries, widely perceived as the least healthful option, were three times as popular with students selecting from the menu that had the salad as they were with the other group.

Our relationship with food could is more complex than those found in Greek Tragedies.

via Bittman on Twitter