While most Americans think about eating healthy and want to make improvements, more than half say that figuring out their income taxes is easier than knowing what they should and shouldn’t eat, according to the International Food Information Council.
Research on antioxidants, omega-3s and acai berries, that often drive food trends, asDavid Sax suggests in his new book Tastemakers, is part of the problem. But a major source of confusion comes from the industry’s food packaging in general.
When a Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream cereal box promotes “100 percent whole grains” and a can of 7UP claims “antioxidants,” how is a consumer to know what is actually good for them? “The general public believes that if a health claim is on the label the government backs that up,” says public health advocate Marion Nestle. “This sells food products, no question. Consumers have to understand that the purpose of these claims is to get them to buy the product.”