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Fruits vs. Veggies: What's Your Love?

Fruits and Vegetables Show Our "Food Personality"
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WebMD Health News

Nov. 16, 2004 -- I say potato, you say banana. I prefer veggies, you'd rather grab fruit. These fruit and vegetable loves are a window to your "food personality," according to a new report.

It is the cover story in the November issue of Journal of the American Dietetics Association.

"Fruits are not vegetables," writes researcher Brian Wansink, PhD, professor of nutrition and marketing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

And Americans are, by and large, strong-minded people with definite fruit and vegetable preferences, he says. Most people tend to prefer either fruits or veggies -- not both, he notes. What we prefer says much about our inner food-loving soul, and how adventurous we are with regard to food.

His report is based on survey results from 770 adults, all answering questions about their food-related tendencies; 508 of them showed definite preferences for fruits and vegetables, Wansink reports.

Fruits and Vegetables: Revealing Your Inner "Foodie"

Fruit lovers were following their sweet tooth. "Fruit lovers also tended to be much less adventurous in cooking; they had fewer dinner parties; they tended to stick to old standards if they cook at all. They liked convenience foods, not necessarily fast food, but prepared foods."

"Vegetable lovers are quite the opposite," he says. "They tended to like foods that are more savory, spicier. They claimed to drink wine more frequently at meals, to like the tannic flavors of wine. They also were more adventurous cooks who entertained more with dinner parties, had friends over more often."

Effort (or lack of it) is the driving force when people choose fruits and vegetables, he says.

"With fruit, it's just wash, peel, eat," says Wansink. "If you look at vegetables in general, they require more preparation, more effort to prepare, you have to peel and cook them. There has to be a willingness to put effort into cooking. Those people are more likely to try new recipes, to have people over for dinner."

Adventurous cooks tend to appreciate vegetables, he says. They enjoy their talent for working with vegetables when cooking for others.

Tweak Fruit and Vegetable Tendencies

These insights can help us adjust our food-eating tendencies, he says.

Fruit lovers should eat more fruit -- but branch out: "Try eating different types of fruits. Our research suggests people like you are more likely to grow into a better fruit lover, rather than trying to become a vegetable lover. Eat more fruit instead of sugary snacks or desserts. Don't give up the ship just because you don't like asparagus and broccoli. You can eat fruit!"

Vegetable lovers: "Don't try to eat more fruit if you don't feel like it. Focus on eating more vegetables. You're more predisposed to becoming a vegetable lover, even more so than you are now. Lean into your strengths rather than forcing yourself to eat more bananas each month," says Wansink.

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