Researchers have found that labeling foods as organic tricks the brain into thinking that it is healthier and tastes better, even when there is no significant difference. This 'halo-effect' can lead people to eat more organic food than inorganic food which can be detrimental to health. People tend to eat organic food in larger quantities as they assume that organic foods contain fewer calories and are a healthy option. This could actually lead to weight gain.
The research was conducted at the Cornell University, New York. 144 participants were asked to compare what they thought to were conventionally and organically produced food products. The products were labeled as 'organic' or 'regular', though all the products were made organically. Subjects were then asked to rate each food on a scale from 1 to 9 for ten different attributes like taste, perception of fat and fiber content, estimation of number of calories etc. The 'organic' foods were judged to be 40% lower in calories.
AdvertisementIt was found that on an average people rated the organic labeled food a full mark up the scale when it came to health. These findings were reported at the American Society for Nutrition annual conference.