Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/100687

The effects of low-fat labeling and caloric information on food intake

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Item Summary

Title: The effects of low-fat labeling and caloric information on food intake
Authors: Ebneter, Daria Sarah
Keywords: taste preferences
health attributions
feelings
Issue Date: Dec 2013
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2013]
Abstract: Objective: The present study examined whether low-fat labeling and caloric information affects food intake. The associations between low-fat and calorie labeling and calorie estimates, taste preferences, and health attributions were assessed, as well as the relationships of low-fat labeling and caloric information to feelings of guilt, embarrassment, regret, and loss of control. Method: Participants were 224 female undergraduate students who were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions. Participants were asked to taste and rate either low-fat or regular labeled chocolate candy. In addition, in two of the four conditions, participants had caloric information available. Main outcome variables included participants‟ intake, calorie estimates as well as health-related attitudes. Feelings of guilt, embarrassment, regret, and loss of control were also assessed. Further, participants responded to questionnaires measuring eating disorder attitudes and behaviors, impulsivity, and depressive symptoms. Results: The differences in food consumption dependent on fat content labeling and caloric information did not reach statistical significance. However, participants significantly underestimated the calorie content of low-fat labeled chocolate candy and also rated low-fat labeled candy as better tasting when they had caloric information available. Participants endorsed more positive health attributions for low-fat labeled candy than for regular labeled chocolate independent of caloric information. No association between feelings of guilt, embarrassment, regret or loss of control and fat content labeling and caloric information was found. Finally, the inclusion of eating disordered attitudes and behaviors, impulsivity, and symptoms of depression as covariates did not alter the results. Discussion: While the effects of fat content labeling and caloric information on food consumption did not reach statistical significance, this study demonstrated that young women underestimate the calorie content of low-fat foods. This finding may be related to participants‟ "health halo" related to low-fat foods. Limitations of the present study are discussed, including methodological issues such as sample characteristics and the laboratory environment under which the study was conducted. Future research might be performed in more natural environments to examine the interaction between fat content and calorie labeling, particularly in populations who may be at higher risk for displaying a "health halo".
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/100687
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Psychology



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