“Consumer food marketing can be extremely persuasive, and the right buzzword on a package can lure a shopper into making an unwise purchase,” Kari Kooi, a registered dietitian at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, said in a hospital news release. “We need to educate consumers on how to read nutritionlabels so they can avoid falling prey to the ‘health halo’ effect.”
Studies have shown that this “health halo” effect leads some people to eat twice as much or more of these foods because they are marketed as healthy, she says.
Five foods Kooi recommends avoiding are:
Vegetable chips. These are marketed as healthy substitutes for vegetables but the nutrition labels on most brands read the same as potato chips. Many of the vegetables’ nutrients are lost in the processing of these chips. Choose real vegetables instead.
Nutrient-enhanced waters. Most are nothing more than colored sugar water that contain empty calories that contribute to weight gain. Claims that some of these products are a healthy choice because of added vitamins are just marketing hype, Kooi said. Taking a daily multivitamin with a glass of water is a better option, she said.