Filed Under: Organic Activists

Organic = Fattening?

Most consumers, whether they buy it or not, understand that “organic” is a label that refers to how food is produced. But many may think organic’s “halo effect” applies to how fattening certain foods are too.

Writing in the journal Judgment and Decision Making last month, two University of Michigan psychology professors reported that claims of “organic” influenced how fattening people thought a food to be. The researchers found that subjects who were told that cookies were “organic” were likely to underestimate the number of calories in them. Interviewees were also less critical of someone for eating an organic dessert and skipping exercise, compared with a person who ate a “conventional” dessert and blew off that same workout.

Ironically, organic food labels could lead to overeating—and to an unhealthier population. It’s just another case of organic’s health halo vanishing into thin air.

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