Someone who goes out of their way to eat organic food may be perceived to be smug.

A new study published this week in the Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science has not only confirmed this stereotype, but found evidence to suggest eating organic food can actually make a person into a bit of a jerk.

Researchers at Loyola University in New Orleans divided 60 people into three groups. One group was shown photos of clearly labeled organic food, another was shown photos of comfort food, like brownies, and the third group was shown non-organic, non-comfort food.

Each group was given scenarios in which they were asked to pass judgment on the behavior of others. The organic group proved to be the most unforgiving. The three groups were also asked how much time they would be willing to spend helping a needy stranger. The organic group volunteered only 13 minutes, as compared to a 22 minute average for the other two groups.

“People may feel like they’ve done their good deed,” said psychology professor Kendall Eskine in explaining why those with organic food on the mind become less nice. “[So] they have permission, or license, to act unethically later on. It’s like when you go to the gym and run a few miles and you feel good about yourself, so you eat a candy bar.”

[MSNBC]