By: Elizabeth Landau, CNN.com Health Writer/Producer
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"Organic" doesn't mean "low-calorie," but people still treat organic products that way, according to a new study to be published in the journal Judgment and Decision Making.
Popular culture has promoted strong associations between the concepts of "organic" and "healthy," leading some consumers to believe that organic foods have fewer calories than their non-organic counterparts, the study said. This may also lead people to make choices about foods that are counterproductive to maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. Study authors Jonathon Schuldt and Norbert Schwarz at the University of Michigan did two studies examining this point.
In the first, they randomly assigned 114 college students at Michigan to view a web page with actual nutrition facts about either regular Oreos or Oreos "made with organic flour." Each product had 160 calories in two cookies. Participants responded to questions comparing the calories in the Oreos they had just read about to other cookie brands.
Participants who read nutritional facts about Oreos with organic flour were more likely to judge that product as having fewer calories than other brands, compared with people presented with facts about conventional Oreos. Participants also said that organic cookies were more appropriate to eat more often than the conventional cookies. Both judgments about calories and how often a food should be eaten are factors in obesity, the authors note.
To read the entire article, see the cnn.com website at http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/11/organic-labels-may-make-you-underestimate-calories/.