Graphical nutrition facts label can keep dieters on track

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Washington D.C, Feb 5 (ANI): To be successful in dieting, whether cutting or bulking, managing the intake of certain nutrients is vital and now, a new study suggests that graphical display of nutrition information can help keep the health-conscious eaters on track.

The University of Illinois research found that when consumers are shown a graphical display of select nutrients on a 2-dimensional plot when ordering in a cafe setting, they purchase healthier, not just lower-calorie, menu items as a meal.

Researcher Manabu T. Nakamura said that understanding how to best present nutrition information is an important, new area of research for him and his lab, adding that current nutrition labels provide comprehensive nutrient information, but unfortunately they’re not working for consumers to help them make decisions in restaurants and grocery stores.

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As part of the Affordable Care Act, chain restaurants and retail food establishments with 20 or more locations are required to provide nutrition information for menu items. But Nakamura said most people, except those who have specific health concerns or food allergies, don’t ask to see this information or don’t know how to use the information provided.

The researchers chose to plot fiber and protein per calorie values because these two nutrients are closely tied to weight management. Fiber has been linked to greater satiety and lean protein has been linked to improving body fat loss. “Promoting fiber intake is important. It could help in preventing overeating. Only 10 percent of the U.S. population meets the fiber recommendation. So there’s a long way to go.”

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Another possibility Nakamura is excited about is the possibility of creating mobile apps with the graph that consumers can use to plot nutrients in menu items as they order during time-constrained situations.

The study appears in Nutrition Research. (ANI)

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