Bioethics Blogs

Is the Government Trying to Make Us Fat?

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

The FDA has proposed new labels on grocery store food products, that adjust serving sizes to more accurately capture what Americans eat. Research I conducted with Steven Dallas and Peggy Liu suggests these labels could be a problem. Here is a great media story on our findings:

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would be overhauling its Nutrition Facts label for the first time in more than 20 years. Among proposed changes to the chart, which is found on most food packaging, is a more realistic assessment of serving size, which reflects the amount of the product people actually eat at one sitting.

This shift has been widely praised by public health advocates, who consider many of the current serving sizes (one-half cup of ice cream?) unrealistically small. This way, they argue, people will have a better sense of the number of calories and grams of fat they are actually consuming.

But newly published research suggests there’s just one small problem with this initiative: It appears to prompt people to eat even more.

“We found that people misinterpret serving size information, with the vast majority of consumers incorrectly believing that the serving size refers to how much can/should be consumed,” a research team led by Steven Dallas of New York University writes in the journal Appetite.

To read the rest of the article, please click here.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.