Items deemed 'guilty pleasures' could be harder to avoid

By WEEK Producer
By NBC News

Items deemed 'guilty pleasures' could be harder to avoid

December 7, 2012 Updated Dec 7, 2012 at 3:47 PM CDT

CHICAGO -- A new study finds the guilt from eating a delicious treat actually makes it taste better.

In a series of experiments, researchers found that when people are primed to feel guilty by foods deemed to be forbidden, they get more pleasure from actually eating them.

However, they warn that this relationship also works for unhealthy habits as well, like smoking or frequent alcohol use.

People may get a bigger charge out of these activities the more they are forbidden or discouraged, making it harder for them to stop.

This study was led by researchers at Northwestern University and published in 'Journal of Marketing Research'.

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