Reading food labels can help beat obesity

22nd September 2010 - Fine Cut

Reading the printed labels on food products is key for those wanting to battle obesity, one expert has claimed.

Recent research has indicated that many consumers struggle to understand the nutritional information found on most labels, but researchers involved in a new study conducted in the United States are encouraging customers to take the time to read the product labels because it could improve the chances of them losing weight.

The data was compiled from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, between 2002 and 2006, the research was led by Bidisha Mandal who revealed that results indicated that 59 per cent of women read food labels compared to 41 per cent of men.

Many of the 12,686 participants were trying to lose weight and the study found that of those that admitted they were trying to lose weight only 44 per cent of them bothered to read food labels when in supermarkets. When this was compared against the weight loss achieved by those that took the time to reach such labels and those that did not, it was found that those who read the food labels lost more weight, with some participants losing more than those who were reading the labels and exercising.

According to one researcher, those consumers that are confused by the nutritional information carried on labels should focus on just a few of the numbers.

Dianne Finegood of Simon Fraser University told Weight World: "I'm pretty sophisticated about these things and I only use a few of the numbers in the nutrition facts box, calories per serving, fat and sometimes sodium."

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