Is checking nutrition information on food labels like reading Japanese or Greek? Several surveys now show that most people claim to check nutrition labels when shopping, but may not use that information in making food purchases. Many shoppers don’t know how to interpret the data on labels, or how to use it to create an overall healthy diet. In a 2003 survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC), 83 percent of people reported that they always or sometimes looked at ingredient or nutrition information. According to a 2004 survey by the Food Marketing Institute, a similar 83 percent said that they always or sometimes checked the Nutrition Facts panel when buying a food item for the first time. In a 2006 Associated Press poll, nearly 80 percent claimed to check food labels. In the IFIC survey, people most often noted considering calorie and total fat content, followed by sodium, saturated fat, sugar, cholesterol and carbohydrates. Many consumers reported they were ‘aware’ of the information on specific nutrients yet a far smaller percentage stated they used that information to decide about a purchase. Likewise, in the AP poll, 44 percent said that after reading the label they […]

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