People are always complaining about the deceptiveness of nutrition labels, but if you don’t even read it, you’ve got no one but yourself to blame regarding poor diet choices. In a new study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers asked about 200 people to look at nutrition information for about 64 different groceries, on a computer screen. Included on-screen was the Nutrition Facts label, a picture and list of ingredients, and a product description with price and quantity. They tracked the eye movements of the participants as they viewed the on-screen information.
Most viewers only read about the first five lines of the Nutrition Facts and reported their viewing time to be higher than it actually was. Only 9 percent of participants looked at the calorie count on every item and only about 1 percent looked at total fat, trans-fat, sugar content and serving size.
Additionally, the study found that the location of the Nutrition Facts labels made a significant difference. Participants looked at centrally positioned labels more often and for longer than labels located on the right or left.
Most labels on groceries in the United States are, in fact, located on the right or left sides. Perhaps if the Nutrition Facts labels were re-positioned on food items, shoppers might be better influenced to purchase healthier items. What do you think? Do you always check the labels at the grocery store?
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