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Originally published August 6 2010

Experts say reading food labels leads to healthier eating

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Two new reports in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association have revealed that people who read ingredient and nutrient labels on food packaging generally eat healthier than those who rarely or never read these labels. While seemingly obvious, the studies' findings illustrate how powerful nutrition awareness is in making healthy food choices.

Based on a sampling of American adults in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers observed a significant difference in mean intake of calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber and sugars, between those who pay attention to nutrition labels and those who do not.

"If the food label is to have a greater public health impact, rates of use will likely need to be increased among U.S. adults," explained Professor Ollberding, one of the study authors. "Low rates of label use also suggest that national campaigns or modification of the food label may be needed to reduce the proportion of the population not using this information."

Researchers suggest making nutritional text bolder, changing its colors, and even developing a new labeling scheme that would make finding and understanding nutritional information easier.

"The food label alone is not expected to be sufficient in modifying behavior ultimately leading to improved health outcomes, but may be used by individuals and nutrition professionals as a valuable and motivating tool in our efforts to combat obesity and diet-related chronic disease," said Ollberding.

The team also investigated the possibility of integrating "point-of-purchase" nutritional programs designed to raise nutritional awareness at the checkout counter.

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