Reading food labels can make you thinner, says a study published in the Journal of Agricultural Economics.
The study’s authors, who used a large data set of 10,810 men and 14,830 women to explore the relationship between reading nutritional labels and body weight, discovered that the average BMI (body mass index) for women was 1.49 points lower for label readers as compared to those who never or rarely read the nutritional information on food labels.
That translates into a loss of about 3.91 kg (8.6 pounds).
The relationship was not quite as strong for men who experienced a 0.12 decrease in BMI (0.37 kg or less than a pound).
Statistics suggest that 74 percent of women and 58 percent of men read food labels with well educated white women from urban centres benefiting from the largest reduction in BMI.
This data jives nicely with a 1993 study that suggested health benefits derived from improved eating habits due to nutritional labels could be as much a 1.2 million life years gained in the U.S. during the first 20 years after labels were introduced in 1990.
Chalk up one more reason to read the labels on your favourite foods.