Looks like those gluten-free, antioxidant-rich, fiber-full, low-sugar, low-fat Snicker Doodles weren’t as great for you as advertised. Research from the University of Houston found that terms like “gluten-free” or “organic” gave consumers a false sense of eating healthy. Score one for marketing teams. Even worse, the USDA hasn’t done much to counteract the confusion. That’s 0-2 for the consumer (read: us).
The study used an online survey of 318 people. Subjects were shown random images of food labels, many with actual marketing words (organic, gluten-free), and some Photoshopped labels to remove those words. Even when reading labels, participants were genuinely confused. Like, super confused — 20 percent picked Spam as a healthier option over salmon.