People who like sweets tend to eat more fruit than people who like salty and spicy foods, researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., report in the July issue of the research journal, Appetite, which specializes in behavioral nutrition.
And people who like fruit tend to eat more sweets than vegetable lovers, the researchers say.
"Understanding these taste or preference co-variances ... helps us better understand what drives the consumption frequency of various foods," writes lead author Brian Wansink, a Cornell marketing professor specializing in food marketing and food psychology.
Correlating people's tastes in one type of food with other types of foods can help marketers create "more effective message strategies that are more efficiently targeted," the researchers said.
It might also help people satisfy their sweet tooth with fruit instead of sugar, they said.
The researchers conducted a random sample of 2,000 North Americans to determine if eating sweet snacks like cookies was related more strongly to fruit than to vegetable consumption, foodnavigator.com reported. The Web site provided no margin of error for the study.