Thursday, June 25, 2015

What's in a Name?

A lot, apparently, if you're marketing food items. A new study in the Journal of Market Research found that people who were trying to lose weight ate more of a trail mix-type product if it was called a "fitness snack," even though trail mix is not exactly a low calorie food.

Alas, this is not surprising news if you've been following the attempts of Americans to pursue a more healthy lifestyle over the last few decades. Many of us can remember the mania for fat-free foods, which were often filled with sugar and plenty of calories. Today, no doubt, some people think that gluten-free pizza is a health food when, in fact, it's often simply the same fattening, starch-and-fat laden product, only without gluten.

It would be a little bit silly to blame all of America's very serious obesity epidemic on labeling fads and fancies alone, but the truth of it is that people facing these issues are often subconsciously looking for excuses to engage in the kind of eating that led them to their obesity in the first place. It's no panacea, but one good habit to take up is actually looking closely at the labels of the foods you buy. Look beyond the name and the packaging and ask a few crucial questions: How many calories does a product have? How much fat and added sugar? Does it have any fiber to speak of? What about protein and carbs? How about vitamins and other nutrients?

It's just one small part of the puzzle, but here at Dr. Feiz & Associates, we encourage people to really do their best to understand the foods they put in their body.

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