Dieters could be sabotaging their health regimens by falling for calorie-laden foods that masquerade under deceptive labels.
Potato chips labelled as veggie chips and milkshakes sold as smoothies are common traps for health-conscious consumers, who are easily swayed with the simple swap of words, revealed a study from The Journal of Consumer Research.
When researchers at the University of South Carolina asked consumers to rate a bowl of vegetables, pasta, salami, cheese and lettuce under two different names — salad and pasta — the health-conscious consumers rated the same dish healthier when it was labelled a salad and less healthier when it was labelled as a pasta. And, as another experiment in the same study suggests: it can lead dieters to consume larger quantities of a food they mistakenly believe is healthy.
When researchers gave candies to students watching a nine-minute movie — those who were told they were ‘fruit chews’ ate more than those who were told they were ‘candy chews’.
Meanwhile, a separate study found that 62 percent of participants reported using the nutrition facts panel printed on packaged foods covers and 52 percent read the list of ingredients when deciding on a food product. .
Decode the labels
Here are simple guidelines to understand the hidden meaning behind what’s written on the labels.
A product is considered:
High fat: More than 20g of fat per 100g
High levels of saturated fat: More than 5g of saturated fat per 100g
High sugar: More than 12.5g of sugar per 100g
High salt: More than 1.5g of salt per 100ga