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7 Ways Nutrition Facts and Food Labels Might Trick You

7 ways nutrition facts and food labels might trick you

You'll never read a food label or nutrition facts label the same way after you learn these 7 misleading food label pitfalls to avoid.

Food companies know that health—or the appearance of health—sells. According to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2012 Food & Health Survey, the healthfulness of foods and drinks influenced 61 percent of buying decisions.

But labels can mislead. Studies show that buzzwords like “organic” can make consumers believe food is also low in calories or “high in protein” is perceived as beneficial to their health, even though the food may be highly processed, full of sugar and/or high in calories. Even when these labels are factually correct, people over-infer the healthiness of the food because “these labels create health halos, and they extend way past what the food actually does,” says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., EatingWell advisor and director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell. And that can lead to over-consumption.

Here are 7 examples of how labels can mislead.

—Rachael Moeller Gorman

Next: 1. Be Wary of Nutrient Callouts »


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