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What does that “healthy” buzzword really mean?

Often, when at the grocery store, we’ll see words such as “organic,” “whole-grain,” and “low fat.” Unfortunately, these words can often mislead us to think that the food is healthier than other options.

Researchers have recently completed a study that found most people want to make healthy food choices and these buzzwords are often deceptive. Wording can motivate people to purchase and consume foods that are actually contributing to conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Once consumers read the nutrition panel on food packaging, usually on the side or back of a product, they will realize that the words appearing on the front of packages don't always match what they are really consuming.

Study participants were asked to look at two versions of a product: the real one and one with terms such as "organic" or "whole grain" removed. In each case, participants found the version with buzzwords included to be significantly more healthful. Some examples: Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks, with and without "organic"; cherry 7-Up, with and without "antioxidants"; and Tostitos tortilla chips, with and without "all natural."

Then they were asked to look at two nutrition panels. They were told the category, such as cereal, but not the name of the product. They were asked to rate healthfulness. Based just on the nutrition panel numbers, 33% of participants chose Spam as more healthful than salmon, for example. Seventy-nine percent chose the less healthy cereal in a pair. But participants did choose juice over soda and carrots over potato chips.

The moral of the story? Think about what you are putting in your body! If you think potato chips aren’t good for you, you are likely correct. “All natural” doesn’t mean that they weren’t fried or covered in oil. “Organic” doesn’t necessarily mean that something is better for you. Ask your chiropractor for more information on nutrition and diet. Your local Chiropractic Partners doctor can provide guidance on what is best for you and your overall health. Call today for an appointment!

For more information on health buzzwords to beware of, click here.

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