Health Halo has horns (and possibly cloven hoofs).

I have never been sold on the idea of good food versus bad food.
In fact you can have my special diet for free.
Eat less. Be more active.
I read with interest an article in the New York Times about the 'Health Halo' effect amongst Americans that skews their behavior towards food.

Experiments showed that putting a “low fat” label on food caused everyone, especially overweight people, to underestimate its calories, to eat bigger helpings and to indulge in other foods.

The researchers found that customers at McDonald’s were more accurate at estimating the calories in their meal than were customers at Subway, apparently because of the health halo created by advertisements like one showing that a Subway sandwich had a third the fat of a Big Mac. The health halo from Subway also affected what else people chose to eat, Dr. Chandon and Dr. Wansink reported last year after giving people a chance to order either a Big Mac or a 12-inch Italian sandwich from Subway. Even though the Subway sandwich had more calories than the Big Mac, the people ordering it were more likely to add a large nondiet soda and cookies to the order. So while they may have felt virtuous, they ended up with meals averaging 56 percent more calories than the meals ordered from McDonald’s.

“People who eat at McDonald’s know their sins,” Dr. Chandon said, “but people at Subway think that a 1,000-calorie sandwich has only 500 calories.” His advice is not for people to avoid Subway or low-fat snacks, but to take health halos into account.


The French researcher refered to European eating habits, versus American:

"Dr. Chandon advises American consumers, food companies and public officials to spend less time obsessing about “good” versus “bad” food.

“Being French, I don’t have any problem with people enjoying lots of foods,” he said. “Europeans obsess less about nutrition but know what a reasonable portion size is and when they have had too much food, so they’re not as biased by food and diet fads and are healthier. Too many Americans believe that to lose weight, what you eat matters more than how much you eat. It’s the country where people are the best informed about food and enjoy it the least.”


D'accord.

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