Do organic labels on snacks tempt you to overeat?

April 30th, 2010 - 12:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 30 (IANS) Organic labels on snacks appear to make people think that they have a lot less calories than they actually do, a study suggests.
The study showed that people, who ate cookies labelled as “organic”, believed that their snack contained 40 percent fewer calories than the same cookies that had no label, says Jenny Wan-Chen Lee, graduate student at Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

“An organic label gives a food a ‘health halo,’ said co-author Brian Wansink, Cornell University professor and author of the book, “Marketing Nutrition”.

“It’s the same basic reason people tend to overeat any snack food that’s labelled as healthy or low fat. They underestimate the calories and over-reward themselves by eating more,” said Wansink.

The study even identified two personality types most likely to make these low estimates — people who claim to “usually buy organic foods,” and those who typically read labels for nutritional information.

What if you don’t want to overeat an organic food?

“Take your best guess at its calorie count. Then double it. You’ll end up being more accurate, and you’ll probably eat a lot less,” explained Wansink, according to Cornell University release.

These findings were presented at this week’s Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, California.

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