Knowing Nutrition Facts Doesn't Make You Eat Healthy, Study Says
You can read nutrition labels all you want, but they won't necessarily make you eat a healthier diet. That's what Canadian researchers now say, after studying what American, French, and Canadian diners knew about what's in their food.
The researchers quizzed the participants on their knowledge of fats — mainly, how much fat is in certain foods (i.e. the percentage of fat in whole milk), and nutritional recommendations for certain fats (i.e. saturated and unsaturated fats). The results? The French participants knew little to nothing about what was in their food; they responded that they didn't know the answers to nearly 43 percent of the questions. Americans, on the other hand, practically aced the test; the U.S. participants were unsure of only four percent of the questions. (The Canadians ranged right in the middle, with 13 percent of questions answered incorrectly).
Good for the Americans... or is it? America's obesity rates tower over France's obesity rates, 35 percent compared to 12 percent. This has led the researchers to conclude that knowing nutrition facts doesn't make you choose the healthier foods. Instead of breaking down foods by nutritional content — carbs, fats, sugars, etc. — it's best to look at "what constitutes a healthy, complete, and balanced meal," said researcher Maurice Doyan.