Food labels help people reduce fat intake

July 24, 2001 in Nutrition Labeling, Nutrition Topics in the News

Food labels help people reduce fat intake

People who scrutinize food labels are better able to cut down on their fat intake than those who ignore such nutritional information, according to a study of more than 800 men and women.

Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, surveyed participants about their intake of fruits and vegetables and their fat-related eating habits--for instance, whether they avoided fried foods or substituted low-fat foods for the high-fat variety.

Following up 2 years later, the researchers found that respondents who said they read food labels reported greater decreases in their fat intake. People who usually read food labels cut about twice as much fat from their diets as those who never glanced at products' nutrition information.

Label readers were not more likely to consume higher amounts of fruits and vegetables. Instead, only females and those with a college education showed significant increases in fruit and vegetable intake. Sex, education and age were also significant in fat intake. Although decreases were evident among men and women of all ages and educational levels, they were most significant among people with 16 or more years of education, older adults and women. In fact, women exhibited a twofold greater decrease in fat intake compared with men.

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