Nutrition in Food Labeling May Be Inaccurate, Study Show

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Sometimes dieters do need to know about new studies that shed light on why they may not be losing weight.  New treatments, new technology or just learning updated health information can also be  helpful tools.  Here are two breaking news headlines in weight management, and a follow-up on an ongoing obesity study.


    Researchers at Tufts reveal that the food labels you are reading on products and restaurant menus may be unreliable and that can translate into insidious weight gain.  Researchers looked at a variety of side dishes and entrees from sit-down restaurant chains and national fast food chains.  They also tested 10 frozen meals purchased from supermarkets.  They compared their testing results to the calorie counts on the menus and found that, on average, 18% of the food calculations offered by the restaurants (sit-down and fast food) were significantly lower than the actual food values they calculated in the lab.  About 8% of the frozen food labels showed lower than actual calorie counts as well.

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    In some cases the restaurant menus offered side dishes that were not counted in the "meal calorie counts" so a person would assume the entire meal is the showcased calorie value, when in fact the information being offered only pertained to the actual "main entrée."  The Tufts researchers are in favor of publicized nutritional information but only if it is accurate.  Obviously if you think your meal has 400 calories and in fact is has 560 calories, you will be unable to track your calorie consumption accurately and those extra "unseen" calories may ultimately pack on major pounds.  This was a small study so more testing needs to be done to see just how pervasive this calorie under-reporting is. (Newswise)


    The BBC reports that a new device, the Mandometer may help obese children.  The device is a "talking, computerized weighing device that tracks how quickly food is being eaten off a plate."  Children who tested the device ate at a slower pace and tended to also eat smaller portions.  This device developed by Swedish scientists may help to retrain children who eat too swiftly to slow down, thereby allowing a feeling of satiation to occur before they have consumed large portions of food.


    Finally a new summary report out of Kaiser Permanente Department of Preventive Medicine supports an earlier study finding that there is a strong association between trauma in early life and obesity.  The initial study performed on 286 children in the late 80s which identified sexual abuse in 50% of the participants who became obese later in life, has been further supported by subsequent studies.  The resulting Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study has, to date, recorded reports of negative childhood experiences in over 17,000 patients. (Newswise)

Published On: January 11, 2010