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The Snackwell's effect

Posted by Christopher Shea  April 28, 2009 12:03 PM

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Have you fallen into this trap?

The proliferation of reduced-fat cookies and other quasi-healthy-sounding snacks has had a perverse result: Many people relax their guard around such food, eat more, and so wind up packing on pounds. The phenomenon is common enough to have a name: the Snackwell's effect, after a popular brand of Nabisco cookies aimed at health-conscious consumers.

In its current issue, Consumer Reports notes a similar effect in the arena of energy conservation. A 2008 study by the University of Michigan economist Lucas Davis, for example, found that people who owned energy-efficient washing machines did more loads of laundry than people who owned conventional machines -- in some cases canceling out the advantages of the new technology. Similarly, a different study, by a group called the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, found that consumers waste 5 to 15 percent of the potential energy savings of compact fluorescent lightbulbs. These consumers conscientiously adopt green technology -- then start leaving more lights on.

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1 comments so far...
  1. Hilarious! I started a container garden on my patio and kept track of how much money is being spent on containers, seeds and potting soil. My goal being in a couple months to have fresh veggies in the garden, reducing my carbon footprint by not purchasing as many varieties which are shipped in from other states and countries and saving some money too. Since I don't have the space or time to grow everything that I eat, at the same time, I've made a point to purchase produce that is locally grown. A gardening instructional book that I purchased has a way to gerryrig that garden hose to leave it on all day for constant watering. I bought a watering can instead.

    Posted by Stephanie April 29, 09 11:51 AM
 
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