Fitness Labels Cause Consumers to Eat More, Exercise Less
People who attempt to improve their health by eating fitness food may be doing a disservice to their waistline. A study co-authored by Hans Baumgartner at Pennsylvania State University and Joerg Koenigstorfer at Technische Universität München, titled, “The Effect of Fitness Branding on Restrained Eaters’ Food Consumption and Post-Consumption Physical Activity,” found that those who consume fitness-branded food, tend to eat more and exercise less than other restrained eaters. For the study, a restrained eater was defined as, “consumers who were chronically concerned about their body weight.”
It seems branding a food product as fitness food can cause the consumer to overlook or ignore the nutritional components of the food, such as calories, fat grams and sugar grams. “The findings are interesting because this is the first research paper that shows that fitness branding of food does not only affect energy intake but also energy expenditure,” Baumgartner said. Along with consuming more calories, the restrained “fit” eaters in the study also exercised less than the unrestrained eaters. The study was published in the Journal of Marketing Research in 2015.