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Food labels ‘could fuel obesity’

Food labels ‘could fuel obesity’

The festive feasting is over, so it’s highly likely you’re thinking about changing your diet a bit. Weeks of eating mince pies and chocolate can mean your body starts to crave fresh vegetables and salad, but the latest warning is to be careful when making supposedly healthy choices.

According to a new study, health labels on foods could be fuelling the obesity epidemic because they actually make people eat more. It’s thought that many presume they can up their intake of so-called healthy items without packing on the pounds, but that’s not the case. In fact, this outlook often means people go over their recommended intake of calories, causing weight gain.

Three experiments were carried out, the first involving 50 people who were quizzed on how they thought the idea of ‘filling’ linked to ‘healthy’. Next, 40 people were asked about how hungry they were after they’d eaten a cookie which was called either ‘unhealthy’ or ‘healthy’. Finally, 72 people were asked about a possible link between how food was portrayed and how much they asked for before watching a film. How much they ended up eating during the screening was then monitored.

All three studies proved that people believe something which is called ‘healthy’ won’t fill them up as much as something which is ‘unhealthy’. When something boasted a ‘healthy’ label, people ate much more of it than was necessary.

“The findings suggest that the recent proliferation of healthy food labels may be ironically contributing to the obesity epidemic rather than reducing it,” the authors of the study, from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, suggested.

They key here is to arm yourself with information rather than simply relying on the packaging of food you eat. Read up on what is good for your body and will fill you up so you can make informed decisions. On the whole, protein and fibre is always a safe and healthy bet

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