Thursday, October 2, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;55.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/ovc.png;2014-10-02 08:27:35
Sunday, June 22, 2014

Packaging can play tricks on even healthy eaters

Joe Marchilena

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch at my Mom’s house and grabbed the open bag of wraps that was in the refrigerator.

It was a brand I’d seen, and bought for myself, before, and although it said “whole wheat” on the package, it was a different style than the ones I’d purchased before. Curious, I flipped the bag over to read the ingredients, and wouldn’t you know, the first one was enriched wheat flour. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch at my Mom’s house and grabbed the open bag of wraps that was in the refrigerator.

It was a brand I’d seen, and bought for myself, before, and although it said “whole wheat” on the package, it was a different style than the ones I’d purchased before. Curious, I flipped the bag over to read the ingredients, and wouldn’t you know, the first one was enriched wheat flour.

I was a little confused. The wraps I usually bought weren’t labeled as whole wheat, but didn’t contain enriched anything, and here were these ones that did claim to be whole wheat and weren’t. When I pointed this out to her, my Mom’s response was “well, I guess I won’t be buying that kind anymore.”

This is just another example of why it’s important to read the list of ingredients on whatever food you buy, no matter what it says on the front of the package.

If you’re trying to be aware of the good and bad things that you’re eating, you’re going to go for the food with the healthy buzzwords on them – like organic or whole grain – and the companies putting out these products know that.

Temple Northup, an assistant professor at the University of Houston, recently completed a study looking at how labels affect purchasing decisions that was published in the journal Food Studies.

The impetus for the study came three years ago, according to the report, when Northup saw a commercial for Chef Boyardee beef ravioli that claimed it contained a full serving of vegetables.

Northup got over three hundred undergraduates to participate in the study, first having them look at two versions of the same product, with one item having the buzzword removed from the packaging. For every item, the participants found the item with the buzzwords to be better for you.

Then participants were asked to look at two panels of nutritional information, knowing only that the pair of products came from the same category, like cereal or meat, and choose which was healthier.

In some cases, the participants identified the unhealthy item as being better – Spam was selected by 33 percent of the group as being healthier than salmon.

So how does one sift through the buzzwords on a label to find what’s really healthy?

You should start by reading ingredients. If it’s a long list, or if you can’t pronounce most of them, it’s probably not something that’s good for you.

Or you could just avoid buying things, like produce, that come in a package.

Fruits and veggies aren’t supposed to be in cans and plastic containers.

Joe Marchilena writes a weekly fitness
column for Hampshire Hills. To find out more information about the “90 Day
Commit to Get Fit” program, call 673-7123 or email hhinfo@hampshirehills.com.