In 2012, a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity study dis­cov­ered that when an unhealthy entrée was accom­pa­nied by a healthy side, people con­sis­tently under­es­ti­mated the calo­ries they’d con­sumed. And in the most striking example, a 2009 study dis­cov­ered that the mere inclu­sion of a healthy item on a menu not only increased the like­li­hood of people ordering an indul­gent choice but also made them feel as though they were living health­fully — a phe­nom­enon dubbed “vic­ar­ious goal fulfillment.”

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