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Healthy choice – don’t trust the marketing blurb

When it comes to choosing the right food in a supermarket, we are often powerless and under the influence of marketers.

A study published in Appetite, looking at the relationship between women satiety and product health claims, showed that how a food was sold to us could have an impact on our belief of fullness. Turns out if it says “healthy” on the package rather than “hearty” we believe that we need to eat more of it to feel full. In the same vein, when choosing a snack for our children, if it says "healthy snack" or "contains fruit" in green letter, we are more likely to choose it against the classic rich tea biscuit.

Instead of relying on what the food producers want us to believe, we need to make our own judgement on whether a product is the right choice or not. The best way to do that is to look at the nutritional content (the small print at the back of the package).

There are many elements to take in account but here are a few markers to help you when making a choice.

Obviously, these are “rules of thumb” and should not dictate all your shopping. We do need oil, salt and caster sugar in our pantry! And it also depends on how much you are going to eat of that food, its content of fibre, its calorie content, etc.

But these markers do come handy when you are choosing a snack for example:

Or when you choose breakfast cereals:

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