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Confusing Nutritional Labels

Nutritional labels now-a-days is the biggest fad amongst food producers to promote that their product is healthier and better than their competitors. However, this labeling can become confusing and misleading to the consumer if the labels are not interpreted correctly. 

The FDA attacks companies who can’t back up claims of preventing disease, but the FDA, currently, does not have the same protocol about “low sodium” labels. 

Therefore, to see just how consumers react to these new labels, 506 Canadians were questioned about a can of fake tomato soup that contained several labels, including preventative disease and low sodium. The research shows that these labels promoting a healthier product made the soup that much more appealing to the consumer. 

The “low sodium” labels are becoming increasingly popular because of the sudden rise in popular high blood pressure, which can be caused by too much sodium intake. One-third of the study group was considered to be a high-blood pressure patient; they generally all deemed the low-sodium labels favorable. 

However, the problem begins when the research group was asked about the health implications of sodium. Overall, the study group thought that the amount of sodium you intake effects: weight loss, diabetes and even constipation; in reality, sodium intake really only effects blood pressure. 

Christina Wong, a graduate student and lead of the study, stated that a “halo effect” was noticed; in other words, consumers were including a whole range of health benefits that are not associated with sodium whatsoever. 

This means that, although the producer is not “lying” about their low-sodium claims, they are deliberately feeding off the consumer’s naivety of the causes and effects of different health issues. 

To avoid being mislead by labels and eating processed, unhealthy foods, look for the labels shown above. These labels are absolute seals of approval, guaranteeing that your food is certified as: vegan, gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, and trans-fat free. 

Sources: NPR

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