Is Your Health Food Fooling You?

We all rely on labels to make an informed decision but when it comes to food items, many labels can be misleading. Consider being given the choice between potato chips or veggie chips. If you're trying to watch your weight, you're more than likely going to opt for the veggie chips, but just remember the “veggie” in question might very well be a potato. It seems some companies and restaurants are putting a healthy new spin on old menu item names and, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, many dieters are falling for it.

In one study, participants were presented with a choice between either a “salad” or “pasta.” The catch was that both options contained the same ingredients-vegetables, pasta, salami and cheese, served on a bed of Romaine lettuce. Research revealed that dieters perceived the item labeled “pasta” as less healthy than the item labeled “salad.” A similar study presented participants with a choice between “fruit chews” and “candy chews.” Because it was perceived as a healthier option, more participants consumed the items labeled as “fruit chews.”

Healthy eating is important to everyone, and we often rely on menu labels to steer us in the right direction. This study is a reminder to everyone to find out what's really in a name before placing your order!