Food labels help reduce fat intake

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Related tags: Food labels, Fat intake, Nutrition

According to a new study, people who carefully study food labels
are better at cutting down their fat intake than those who ignore
such nutritional information.

People who carefully study food labels are better at cutting down their fat intake than those who ignore such nutritional information, according to new research, ReutersHealth​reports. A study of more than 800 men and women shows that those who paid attention to food labels had larger decreases in fat intake over 2 years. "These results suggest that food labels are useful for helping people reduce fat intake,"​ Dr. Alan R. Kristal, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues write in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Food labels had their greatest impact among women, older people and more highly educated people, but the authors wrote that "public health efforts to promote healthful dietary change must do a better job reaching men, younger persons, and persons who are less well educated."​ The researchers surveyed participants about their intake of fruits and vegetables and their fat-related eating habits, for instance, whether they avoided fried foods or substituted low-fat foods for the high-fat variety. In a follow up 2 years later, the authors found that respondents who said they read food labels reported greater decreases in their fat intake. Overall, the respondents had reduced their fat intake by about 2 per cent and increased their daily fruit and vegetable intake slightly. But those who "usually" read food labels cut about twice as much fat from their diets as those who never glanced at products' nutrition information. But label readers were not more likely to consume higher amounts of fruits and vegetables. Instead, only females and those with a college education showed significant increases in fruit and vegetable intake. "There is now relatively convincing evidence that nutrition information food labels are helping consumers,"​the authors conclude, noting that more good could come if nutrition labels were "modified to be easier to read and understand."

Related topics: Science

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