Modern Teens Willing to Eat Healthy If It Will Piss Off Their Parents

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An açai bowl is the modern form of teenage rebellion.Photo: Azurita/Getty Images

Gone are the days when teenage rebellion entailed leather jackets and motorcycles. Instead, teens nowadays are laughing in the face of authority one salad at a time.

A new study revealed that teenagers are willing to adopt healthy diets as a form of rebellion, The Guardian reports. Teens aren’t as interested in eating healthy just because it’s good for them; they’re more willing to change their dietary habits to seem cool, according to the research.

“If the normal way of seeing healthy eating is that it is lame, then you don’t want to be the kind of person who is a healthy eater,” study co-author David Yeager of the University of Texas at Austin, told The Guardian. “But if we make healthy eating seem like the rebellious thing that you do, you make your own choices, you fight back against injustice, then it could be seen as high status.”

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists examined how 536 students between the ages 13 and 15 responded to information geared toward promoting healthy eating. The researchers found that appealing to teens’ sense of social justice and rebellion was more likely to inspire them to eat healthy. Only 43 percent of participants who received negative information about the food industry picked unhealthy snacks (such as chips or cookies), compared to 54 percent of teens who received information about the benefits of eating healthy, or no information at all.

Rebellious teens were also less likely to pick sugary drinks over water, and the overall content of sugar in their diets decreased by 9 percent. Guess the revolution will be veganized.