Are Nutrition Labels the Real Reason You Can’t Lose Weight?
We all pick up food items in the grocery store and quickly glance at the nutrition label to see how many calories are in our favorite meal. Some make it down to the fine print to check out the carbs, sugar, fats and sodium. The problem is most people don’t make the connection between the misleading serving sizes listed.
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
It appears that people are easily misled when it comes to interpreting food labels, and will eat more of an item if they believe it is a small portion. Information from a new 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.