Labels fooling weight-conscious individuals

09th May 2011 - Fine Cut

Some weight-conscious individuals have been fooled by "deceptive" labels, according to the Journal of Consumer Research.

The findings, which were published in the journal, explained that some food items have been mis-sold as being healthier than they actually were.

Examples provided were "potato chips labelled as veggie chips," and "milkshakes sold as smoothies," which were described as "common traps" for those on a diet.

The findings came to light after researchers working at the University of South Carolina undertook research involving regular consumers.

The Independent confirmed how the research took place: "When researchers...asked consumers to rate a bowl of vegetables, pasta, salami, cheese and lettuce under two different names - 'salad and pasta' - the same dish was rated healthier by health-conscious consumers as a salad than as a pasta."

"The dish clocked in at 900 calories and 60g of fat. That can lead dieters to consumer large quantities of a food they mistakenly believe is healthy."

To combat increasing numbers of dieters being duped, the UK's National Health Service has published guidelines regarding what is considered to be a high level of fat, salt, sugar and saturated fat, according to Yahoo! News.

A separate study, also conducted in America, revealed similar findings; and demonstrated that dieters who took the time to read the actual list of ingredients, rather than making assumptions based on the name of the product, had "healthier nutrient consumption."

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