Tuesday, September 16, 2008

100 Calorie Packs: Marketing junk food as diet food

A recent trend in the snack food industry is to package food into "100 calorie packs". When I first saw these "packs" on the shelves, I gravitated toward them because the packaging made them seem like diet food. But when I got closer and saw that they were mostly the same snacks that I avoid like the plague when in their normal packaging, I was bemused.

"How can chips and crackers and cookies be healthy?" I asked myself. Sure, some of these packs use baked chips instead of fried. But they are still mostly carbs and they still usually have 30 % or more of their calories from fat and negligible amounts of protein.

I can hear the Yes, buts now ...

Yes, but they are only 100 calories, you are probably thinking.

It certainly seems logical that you will eat less if you limit yourself to a 100 calorie pack of Teddy Grahams than if you grab some from full box of Teddy Grahams. But apparently we are not logical creatures. (Shocking, I know.) In fact, scientists are now studying this new snack food phenomena. (I guess I wasn't the only one who was bemused.)

Their conclusion? Smaller packages encourage you to consume more.

I admit I was quite surprised to read this. I bet the snack companies aren't though. Sneaky devils.
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