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Misleading Low-Carb Claims On Package Fronts Can Conflict With Nutrition Facts

September 7, 2010: 04:16 PM EST
Research has shown that consumers often skip the ”Nutrition Facts” (NF) panel on the back or side of a food package if a strong health claim is made on the front. Now a new study from the FDA shows that consumers can misinterpret low carbohydrate claims made on the front of food packages, believing the foods offer health or weight loss benefits not supported by the NF panel. More than 4,000 consumers rated products for perceived healthfulness, helpfulness for weight management, and caloric content based on front-of-package-only nutrition claims and availability of NF panels. Without the NF panels, "low-carbohydrate claims led to more favorable perceptions about products' helpfulness,” researchers said. But when the NF panels were available, participants used the more diagnostic information to judge the product.
Judith Labiner-Wolfe, PhD, et al., "Effect of Low-carbohydrate Claims on Consumer Perceptions about Food Products' Healthfulness and Helpfulness for Weight Management", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, September 07, 2010, © Elsevier, Inc.
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