Behavior Change
Tricking People Into Making Healthier Choices

A new cup will use aromas and a patented “sweet taste technology” to trick people who prefer sugary drinks into thinking they are drinking a fruit-flavored water. The Right Cup, designed to help people drink more water, will launch its crowdfunding campaign in a few weeks.

Founder and CEO Isaac Lavi came up with the idea after he was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 30. Lavi missed drinking flavorful beverages and decided to design a product that would use science to trick his brain into thinking he was drinking more than plain old H2O.

The Right Cup’s flavor is expected to last about 6 months and customers can store the cup upside-down to help lock in scents. They will cost $25 each during the crowdfunding campaign and are expected to eventually retail for $35. Based on images, the product seems to have three main components: a flavored rim, a scented inner cup, and an outer cup.

No information yet on whether the plastic is “eco-friendly” (recycled, bio-based, or otherwise); and what happens to the cup after the flavor/scent wear off. Can it be used as a normal cup, does it need to be thrown out, or can the colored components be replaced and the clear plastic portion reused? Sustainable Brands has asked the company and is awaiting comment.

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Meanwhile, Mexico’s battle with obesity continues. It is estimated that 70 percent of the country’s adults are overweight and 30 percent are obese, while 35 percent of its adolescents are overweight or obese. Mexico City’s Secretary of Health has been experimenting with health stations at public transit stops to promote a healthier lifestyle.

The program is expected to give a minimum of 50,000 free transit tickets, half of which will be funded by private institutions. The initiative has received some criticism based on English-only instructions and ongoing delays in issuing free transit tickets. It is part of a larger health campaign to tackle obesity and advocate for healthier lifestyles. Other programs include the installation of 600 free outdoor gyms in Mexico City, and an 8 percent tax increase on sugary drinks. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is advocating for a similar tax in the UK.

According to The Guardian, Mexico City’s subway tickets cost five pesos, so the physical activity equates each squat to about 2 pesos. Two pesos is about equivalent to 8p in the UK or 12 cents in the US, so you can calculate how many squats you would have to do if your local transit adopted the same rate (probably a lot more than 10). Russia adopted a similar initiative in 2013 leading up to the Sochi Olympics — riders were asked to do 30 squats for a free subway ticket.


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