Every day we see messaging that tells us “eat this!” and “don’t eat that!” New research from Arizona State University found that negative comments from the so-called food police may actually lead us to eat more. In a series of studies, participants read a negative, positive, or two-sided message about sugary snacks. People who saw negative messages (think: “all sugary snacks are bad”) ate nearly 40 percent more cookies than those who saw positive ones.

This is bad news for federal PSAs and diet guidelines, which often tell Americans which foods are big no-nos. The key to changing our eating habits may be less about scare tactics and more about showing both sides of the coin—the good and the bad. Participants who saw both positive and negative messages were nearly half as likely to opt for junk food. So next time you read an article about how sodium is so horrible for you, take it with a grain of salt.