Research Could Lead to Food Label Changes

How Healthy Is Your Lunch?

KUSA - Researchers at CSU are trying to change how we read nutrition labels.

The group is studying how the eyes move around boxes in grocery stores hoping their findings will lead people to healthier food choices.

“Usually shoppers know what they're going to take before they even touch it,” said graduate student and researcher Charlie Heidrick. “So this software is perfect because it tells us what participants are paying attention to.”

“The impacts would be people are choosing slightly healthier versions of similar products,” added lead researcher Dan Graham.

Graham is the assistant psych professor who started the project more than a year ago when he was brainstorming how to influence healthier food choices.

“So we're able to look at the amount of time spent looking at calories, fat, sodium and all of the nutrients,” he said.

Participants enter Graham’s office at CSU where both walls are covered in shelves of actual food. They’re then asked to pick out $20 worth of food while wearing a special pair of glasses that can track the subtlest of eye movements by calculating the angle of both the cornea and pupil.

The team is hoping to use the info to see if color coded nutrients or a different layout would warrant better food choices.

“I was just amazed that we had the technology to do this,” said research assistant Ashlie Johnson.

Johnson knew they were making progress when she noticed some people’s eyes dart to the fat content and nothing else suggesting that location of nutrients influence’s people thoughts on what is healthy.

“We do tend to read labels from the top to the bottom and that's not necessarily where the most relevant information is,” she said.

The team already has a prototype for a new type of label.

The FDA is considering rolling it out in 2018.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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