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Comment & Response
December 2017

Selection Does Not Equate Consumption

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Sciences, Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Nutrition, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Departments of Epidemiology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(12):1875. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.6725

To the Editor We applaud Turnwald et al1 for their experimental design to test inexpensive interventions to increase healthy food consumption within the Stanford University dining hall. In a Research Letter published in a recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Turnwald et al1 reported that indulgent descriptors of healthy vegetables dramatically increased “consumption” compared with alternatively labeling the same food. The assumption that measuring the quantity of a vegetable selected equates to consumption is flawed and may misrepresent the results and overstate the conclusions. The authors cited a review by Wansink and Johnson2 that found that on average 92% of foods selected are consumed.

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