1. Headline
  1. Headline
By
updated 4/20/2011 6:16:13 PM ET 2011-04-20T22:16:13

Because dieters are more inclined than non-dieters to seek out foods that are labeled as healthy, they also are more likely to choose mislabeled foods that are actually unhealthy, according to a new study.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. Joan Lunden: 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed with breast cancer

      Doctors found two tumors in my right breast, both triple negative breast cancer, which means it’s more aggressive and fast...

    2. Derek Jeter dismisses 'most eligible bachelor' title: 'No, no, no'
    3. Jimmy Fallon and Tyler Perry face off in drone race
    4. Why Joan Lunden agreed to pose bald for the cover of People
    5. Duchess Kate pulls out of charity event due to morning sickness

"Over time, dieters learn to focus on simply avoiding foods that they recognize as forbidden based on product name. Thus dieters likely assume that an item assigned an unhealthy name (for example, pasta) is less healthy than an item assigned a healthy name (for example, salad),” the researchers from the University of South Carolina and Loyola University reported.

Non-dieters, on the other hand, aren't as concerned as about what they're putting in their bodies, and are therefore more likely than dieters to dismiss cues that imply healthfulness, including the name of the product.

In the first experiment in the study, researchers asked 66 people, whom they approached on the street, to imagine spotting a new item on a lunch menu. The item: "diced tomatoes, onions and red peppers tossed with pasta shells, salami, mozzarella cheese and dressed with a savory herb vinaigrette. Served chilled on a bed of fresh romaine lettuce."

Researchers described the menu item to some of the study participants as a salad and to others as pasta. When the dish was called pasta, the dieters perceived it as less healthy than when it was called salad, according to the study.

In the second experiment, 142 college students were given samples of a product labeled either "fruit chews" or "candy chews."

Dieters thought the item labeled " candy chews" was less healthy than the item labeled "fruit chews," and as a result consumed more of the product when they were called "fruit chews," Researchers said.

The study was published this week in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Follow MyHealthNewsDaily on Twitter @ MyHealth_MHND.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Joan Lunden: 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed with breast cancer

    From the moment you hear the words ‘You have breast cancer,’ it’s almost like you’re shot out of a cannon. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed.

    10/1/2014 10:52:45 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:52:45
  2. Want to help? A guide to breast cancer charities

    In the United States an estimated 296,000 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and almost 40,000 women and 410 men will die of the disease. That's one death every 14 minutes, according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

    10/1/2014 10:45:11 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:45:11
  3. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
Exclusive
  1. TODAY

    Derek Jeter dismisses 'most eligible bachelor' title: 'No, no, no'

    10/1/2014 11:43:39 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T11:43:39
  1. TODAY

    Al, Jay Leno kick off USO comedy tour in Afghanistan

    10/1/2014 11:00:13 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T11:00:13
  1. Getty Images file

    Duchess Kate pulls out of charity event due to morning sickness

    10/1/2014 1:20:02 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T13:20:02