New York: Labels on packaged foods such as nutrition facts, “low-sodium” or “fat-free” as well as calorie counts on restaurant menus, have to some extent encouraged healthier eating choices, say researchers. The research, led by Tufts University researchers, found that labelling reduced consumers’ intake of calories by 6.6 per cent, total fat by 10.6 per cent and other unhealthy food options by 13 per cent. Labelling also increased consumers’ vegetable consumption by 13.5 per cent.
In contrast, labelling did not significantly impact consumer intakes of other targets such as total carbohydrate, total protein, saturated fat, fruits, whole grains or other healthy options, the researchers rued. “Many old and new food policies focus on labelling, whether on food packages or restaurant menus. Remarkably, the effectiveness of these labels, whether for changing consumers’ choices or industry product formulations, has not been clear,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean at Tufts’s Friedman School. When industry responses were evaluated, the team found that labelling led to reductions of both trans-fat and sodium in packaged foods by 64.3 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively. (IANS)
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