Beware of Misleading Food Names

Dieters are more likely to fall for "naming traps" when choosing healthy foods

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Are you an individual who focuses more on the name of a product when choosing healthy foods? You might want to think twice because researchers say names can be deceiving.

Researchers found dieters will choose foods that have healthier names, even though the actual food might not be as healthy.

"Choose healthy foods by reading nutrition labels rather than food names."

Dr. Caglar Irmak, assistant professor of marketing at the Darla Moore School of Business, and colleagues, found that dieters are more likely to be misled by food names than non-dieters. The researchers gathered information from over 520 participants through surveys and experiments.

The study showed that participants who were more concerned about eating healthy were more likely to be tricked.

When participants were given a choice between "fruit chew" or "candy chew," the health-conscious/ dieter group was more likely to think fruit chew's were healthier and even ate more of it.

Irmak believes that dieters are more likely to be duped because they tend to focus on food names, like salad or pasta, instead of reading the nutrient labels and product information.

Even though the food name might have salad in it, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you. The salad could contain lots of other ingredients dieters try to avoid like meat, cheese or bread. Non-dieters don’t get tricked because they're less concerned with eating healthy.

Dieters should focus more on nutritional information labels instead of focusing on names to be sure that what they're eating is in fact good for them.

Look for foods with low fat, low amounts of sugar, high amounts of fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 8, 2011
Last Updated:
June 12, 2011