The Sugar-Coated Truth

People believe candied, buttered or salted foods have fewer vitamins than their non augmented counterparts. Research shows each food contains the same amount of vitamins.

By Richard A. Lovett, published on September 1, 2004 - last reviewed on November 12, 2004

Which contains more vitamins-a strawberry or a chocolate-covered strawberry? It's not a trick question: The berry is the same in both cases. But Michael Oakes, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, has discovered that the fat and sugar in the decadent coating have been so vilified that many people presume that these ingredients suck the real nutrition out of the berry.

In a study published in the journal Appetite, Oakes asked 175 students to rate the vitamin and mineral content of 34 foods. The survey was conducted in two parts, so it wasn't obvious that it contained pairs of "primary foods" like apples, nuts and carrots, as well as their candied, salted or buttered counterparts. The students overwhelmingly awarded lower nutritional scores to the augmented foods. Some added explanations such as "butter hurts vitamins" or "chocolate kills it."