(Article first published as Are Nutrition Labels the Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight? on Technorati.)
Manufacturers know that their customers examine the required labels before they make a purchase, and do a good job to make you think you can eat more and consume fewer calories. Even the portion size on the nutrition label can influence whether you view the product as fattening. And we all know this has a direct impact on how much you eat and your ability to lose weight.
Label Size Influences Caloric Perception
study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that the way a manufacturer listed the portion size on the label influenced how much a consumer would be likely to eat.
Researchers provided consumers with different food items and determined how much people would eat based on the food label. Large portions were intentionally labeled as small, and participants ate more and felt less guilt in their choices. The study authors called this ‘guiltless gluttony’. Similarly, when the large serving was labeled correctly, people ate less and experienced a higher level of guilt if they overate.
Manufacturers Use Food Labeling as a Marketing Gimmick
Food manufacturers have been slowly altering the portion sizes on many food products to intentionally fool the consumer. The result is the expanding American waistline and the problem we know as the obesity epidemic. People want to make the right food choices by selecting lower calorie fare with less sodium and no hydrogenated fats. Food selection becomes much more difficult when manufacturers use their marketing tricks so we purchase products that are unhealthy and laden with excess calories.
Be Vigilant When Grocery Shopping
Food manufacturers utilize focus groups to find ways to compel you to buy their products and eat more than you intend. Deceiving food label practices are just another way being used to drive sales and encourage over consumption. Read nutrition labels carefully, determine the actual calories in a real serving and use that information to your health and weight advantage.