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Fitness foods may encourage more binging as well as less exercise

Posted:  Monday, June 29, 2015

Watch out weight watchers! Fitness foods may only lighten your pockets not you! New studies reveal that fitness foods may promote fitness freaks to consume more of these foods and exercise less, negating their endeavour to keep fit.

A new study published in the Journal of Marketing Research examined the effects that foods branded as fitness foods bear on the eating patterns and exercise regimen of restrained eaters, that is, people who chronically limit their eating behaviour to prevent weight gain.

While one phase of the study provided participants with trail-mix style snacks labelled either “Fitness” or “Trail-mix” as an afternoon snack, another phase offered the option of vigorous exercise on a stationary bicycle post snack consumption. A picture of running shoes on the “Fitness” version was used to portray it as the healthier one.

Interestingly, the researchers found that ‘fitness branding” promoted higher consumption of the snack labelled “Fitness” because it did not fall under the list of forbidden foods for weight watchers and also deluded the participants into substituting the snack for exercise resulting in lesser activity.

"It is important that more emphasis be placed on monitoring fitness cues in marketing. For example, a brand could offer gym vouchers or exercise tips instead of just implying fitness via a label or image” the researchers said on a parting note. This would keep consumers from mistakenly assuming that exercise can be substituted with fitness foods.

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