Put Down That Nutrition Bar!
Do you turn to nutrition bars, snacks or other foods with packaging that speaks of “fitness” benefits? Think Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions;” Clif Bars, marketed to outdoor enthusiasts; PowerBar, targeted to athletes; or Bear Naked’s “Fit” Granola.
Put them down! A new study in the Journal of Marketing Research demonstrates that such “fitness branding” encourages consumers to eat more of those foods and exercise less.
Yes, fitness foods encourage us to eat more & exercise less!
In the study, participants were given a trail-mix snack labeled as either “Fitness,” which included an image of running shoes, or “Trail Mix.” The people were asked to pretend they were preparing an afternoon snack at home, and were given eight minutes to taste and rate the snack. Later on they were then given the option to exercise on a stationary bike.
The researchers found that the “Fitness” label had a significant effect on consumption and exercise. The participants who were trying to watch their weight ate substantially more of the “Fitness” snack and worked out less during the exercise phase of the study.
As an aside, many foods marketed as “fitness” healthy are very high in sugar. For instance, a Clif Coconut Chocolate Chip Energy Bar has 22 grams, the equivalent of nearly six teaspoons, of sugar. Read nutritional panels to get the real story!
3 Tips For Healthier Snacking for Weight Loss & Fitness
1. Make A List of Your Favorite Healthy Go-To Snacks — Here are some of my favorites. Be careful with portions. We tend to underestimate our eating and overestimate our exercising!
- Greek Yogurt with Fresh Fruit and Nuts
- Hummus with High-Fiber Chips and Baby Carrots
- Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
- High-Fiber Whole Grain Toast with Avocado
2. Eat Throughout The Day — Find the time to eat meals and snacks — or even (hark!) graze — in order to maintain your energy throughout the day. This will prevent the overeating that comes with not eating at consistent intervals during the day.
3. Get Clear About “Why” You’re Eating — Are you hungry? Many people who experience weight fluctuations fall victim to triggers — those buttons that turn on the “I’m hungry” signal, such as anger, frustration, boredom, sadness, feeling rewarded or even just witnessing other people eating. It is possible to interrupt those thought patterns once you key in the “why.”
For more on Healthy Eating: