Health Foods Can Lower Your Motivation to Work Out

lower your motivation

The health food industry is a billion dollar industry and is growing every minute. It’s no surprise that new products are taking over the shelves at grocery stores around the world. Over the past few years, many sports drink and nutrition bar brands have come under fire as they were compared to sodas and candy bars. Turn those pretty packages over and one could see that the amount of sugar, fat and carbs, as well as suspicious ingredients didn’t differ all that much.

But new research is showing that the way a product is packaged may actually lower your motivation to workout and make healthier choices, and it’s not in the way you would think. Keep reading to learn more…

New research shows health foods may lower your motivation to workout

Your stomach’s growling and you’re planning to hit the gym in an hour. Do you reach for a Snickers or a fitness bar? A Coke or a Gatorade? The answer may seem obvious, but check the nutrition facts on these products’ labels, and you might be surprised how similar they are. Plus, nutrition aside, grabbing the sporty food or drink may lead you to overindulge—and skip part of your workout, suggests a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research.

In the study, researchers gave people nutritionally identical trail mix samples before a stationary bike workout. The catch: Some of the trail mix samples came in packages marked “fitness” and featured pictures of running shoes. Among those trying to watch their weight, people given the “fit” trail mix ate more and exercised less than those who received food samples without sport-oriented labels.

Marking a food as “fit” or “for athletes” wipes out much of the conflict going on in your brain when it comes to weight control and eating enjoyment, says study co-author Jörg Königstorfer, Ph.D., chair of sport and health management at Germany’s Munich Technical University…Königstorfer’s research is among the first to show sport-labelled foods may actually lower your motivation to workout.

Because your mind lumps fitness-related things together, eating a sport-branded food may somehow trick your brain into thinking you’ve hit part of your weight-loss goal just by eating it, his study suggests.

“Fitness branding may put restrained eaters in double jeopardy,” Königstorfer adds. “It makes them eat more and exercise less.” Something to think about the next time you’re at the grocery store—or gearing up for a workout.

Full Story: The Not-So-Healthy Truth About Nutrition Bars

thumbnail courtesy of