Change vending machine habits with a time delay

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Chocolate bars, salty snacks and organic whole wheat pretzels. One of these things isn't like the others, but many are routinely faced with vending machine options like these. (WLS)

Chocolate bars, salty snacks and organic whole wheat pretzels. One of these things isn't like the others, but many are routinely faced with vending machine options like these.

How can people overcome their first impulse and make the healthier choice?

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center tapped into the natural human tendency toward immediate gratification to see if they could use it to keep people from choosing less healthy options.

The researchers tried implementing a 25-second time delay on unhealthy snacks, a tax on the unhealthy foods, and a discount on the healthy snacks.

A month's trial of each experiment - the time delay, the surcharge, and the discount - gave an interesting answer.

The 25-second time delay worked. Researchers said it lead to a two-to-five percent increase in healthy purchases, because they could get the snack right away.

So the next time you gaze longingly at the candy bars, give yourself a self-imposed timeout of 25 seconds or let yourself get a healthier choice right away.

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healthstaying healthyresearchhealth food
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