SnackWell effect

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The SnackWell effect is a phenomenon whereby dieters will eat more low-calorie cookies, such as SnackWells, than they otherwise would for normal cookies.[1][2] Also known as moral license, it is also described as a term for the way people go overboard once they are given a free pass[3] or the tendency of people to overconsume when eating more of low-fat food due to the belief that it is not fattening.[4]

The term, which emerged as a reaction to dietary trends in the 1980s and 1990s,[5] is also used for similar effects in other settings, such as energy consumption, where it is termed the "rebound effect". For example, according to a 2008 study, people with energy-efficient washing machines wash more clothes.[6][7] People with energy-efficient lights leave them on longer, and lose 5–12% of the expected energy savings of 80%.[8]

See also



  1. ^ "One reason I've suggested is what called the SnackWell's Phenomenon: By giving a free pass to good nutrients, people go there and eat a lot more food. If one SnackWell's is okay because it's low-fat, a whole box is probably better." -- Food writer Michael Pollan in his Otis Lecture at Bates College, Oct. 27, 2008.
  2. ^ "Buzzword: Snackwell's effect". Archived from the original on 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  3. ^ Harris, Dena (2015). The Paleo Vegetarian Diet: A Guide For Weight Loss And Healthy Living. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press. p. 18. ISBN 9781612434629.
  4. ^ Small, Ernest (2009). Top 100 Food Plants. Ottawa: NRC Research Press. pp. 174. ISBN 9780660198583.
  5. ^ Jacobson, Michael F. (2017-03-06). "Burying the Snackwell Myth". Medium. Retrieved 2019-09-30.
  6. ^ Lucas W. Davis: 'Durable Goods and Residential Demand for Energy and Water: Evidence from a Field Trial'. The RAND Journal of Economics Vol. 39, No. 2 (Summer 2008), pp. 530-546.
  7. ^ "Flex Your Power Energy News - Power Plug » the Snackwell Effect: Consumers Sabotage Energy-Saving Efforts". Archived from the original on 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  8. ^ Watson, Traci (2009-03-22). "Consumers can sabotage energy-saving efforts". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04.