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Junk food

Americans know junk food causes weight gain, but they eat it anyway

Thursday, October 19, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: junk food, convenience foods, food choice

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(NewsTarget) According to a new study published by researcher AC Nielsen, many Americans know that poor nutritional choices lead to increased weight -- and even obesity -- but continue to eat these foods anyway.

With standard nutrition labels as the only guide for millions of consumers to judge what they are eating, researchers concluded that food manufacturers need to make nutrition information even easier for consumers to understand and implement.

However, another piece of the study revealed that even when consumers were made aware that their choice of food was nutrient-deficient or fattening, it did not affect their choice of food in many cases. In addition, many Americans recognize -- but ignore -- the importance of eating a nutritionally-balanced breakfast.

Many consumers, according to the AC Nielsen study, don't pay attention to labels or what they know about them, leading to the consumption of more consumable junk food, even though the consumer is aware that weight gain may result.

Another aspect of the study tried to determine why that is, and they found the "convenience" factor of junk food was a big lure. Many junk foods have long shelf lives, are readily available and inexpensive, leading to increased consumption over healthier, but harder to find, foods. The fast-paced lifestyle of most Americans reinforces this need for choosing convenience over health, since the consequences of bad food choices aren't always immediate.

Researchers found that the two most commonly tried weight control activities -- eating junk food less frequently and reducing meal size -- have actual trial rates that come close to matching perceived effectiveness. In other words, people did actually see the difference in their body weight when they made an effort to consume less junk food or reduce meal sizes.

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