Confusion and nutritional backlash from news media exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats

Danielle Clark, Rebekah H Nagler, Jeff Niederdeppe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective:To test the effect of news media exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats on levels of confusion, nutritional backlash and dietary intentions.Design:We conducted an online survey experiment between 11 and 28 February 2018, randomizing participants to one of six experimental conditions. Two 'contradictory information' conditions asked participants to read one news article on the risks of a low-carbohydrate diet and one article on the risks of a low-fat diet. Two 'convergent information' conditions asked participants to read two articles with similar information on the risks of one of these two diets. A fifth 'established health recommendations' control condition asked participants to read two articles on the harms of smoking and sun exposure. A sixth 'no information' condition served as a second control group. We used general linear models to test hypotheses on the effects of exposure on confusion, nutritional backlash and dietary intentions.Setting:USA.Participants:Adults (n 901) registered with Amazon's Mechanical Turk (M-Turk).Results:Exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats increased confusion and nutritional backlash compared with exposure to established health recommendations for non-dietary behaviours and a no-exposure control. Exposure to contradictory information also increased confusion compared with exposure to consistent nutrition information regarding carbohydrates and dietary fats.Conclusions:Contradictory nutrition information in the news media can negatively affect consumers' attitudes, beliefs and behavioural intentions. Dietary debates that play out in the media may adversely influence both short-term dietary decisions and future efforts to communicate about unrelated nutrition issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic health nutrition
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

news media
Confusion
Dietary Fats
confusion
carbohydrates
fats
fat
carbohydrate
Carbohydrates
nutrition
diets
Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet
Fat-Restricted Diet
Health
Solar System
diet
recommendations
Linear Models
health
Smoking

Keywords

  • Carbohydrates
  • Confusion
  • Fats
  • Health communication
  • News media

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Cite this

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title = "Confusion and nutritional backlash from news media exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats",
abstract = "Objective:To test the effect of news media exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats on levels of confusion, nutritional backlash and dietary intentions.Design:We conducted an online survey experiment between 11 and 28 February 2018, randomizing participants to one of six experimental conditions. Two 'contradictory information' conditions asked participants to read one news article on the risks of a low-carbohydrate diet and one article on the risks of a low-fat diet. Two 'convergent information' conditions asked participants to read two articles with similar information on the risks of one of these two diets. A fifth 'established health recommendations' control condition asked participants to read two articles on the harms of smoking and sun exposure. A sixth 'no information' condition served as a second control group. We used general linear models to test hypotheses on the effects of exposure on confusion, nutritional backlash and dietary intentions.Setting:USA.Participants:Adults (n 901) registered with Amazon's Mechanical Turk (M-Turk).Results:Exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats increased confusion and nutritional backlash compared with exposure to established health recommendations for non-dietary behaviours and a no-exposure control. Exposure to contradictory information also increased confusion compared with exposure to consistent nutrition information regarding carbohydrates and dietary fats.Conclusions:Contradictory nutrition information in the news media can negatively affect consumers' attitudes, beliefs and behavioural intentions. Dietary debates that play out in the media may adversely influence both short-term dietary decisions and future efforts to communicate about unrelated nutrition issues.",
keywords = "Carbohydrates, Confusion, Fats, Health communication, News media",
author = "Danielle Clark and Nagler, {Rebekah H} and Jeff Niederdeppe",
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AU - Nagler, Rebekah H

AU - Niederdeppe, Jeff

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N2 - Objective:To test the effect of news media exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats on levels of confusion, nutritional backlash and dietary intentions.Design:We conducted an online survey experiment between 11 and 28 February 2018, randomizing participants to one of six experimental conditions. Two 'contradictory information' conditions asked participants to read one news article on the risks of a low-carbohydrate diet and one article on the risks of a low-fat diet. Two 'convergent information' conditions asked participants to read two articles with similar information on the risks of one of these two diets. A fifth 'established health recommendations' control condition asked participants to read two articles on the harms of smoking and sun exposure. A sixth 'no information' condition served as a second control group. We used general linear models to test hypotheses on the effects of exposure on confusion, nutritional backlash and dietary intentions.Setting:USA.Participants:Adults (n 901) registered with Amazon's Mechanical Turk (M-Turk).Results:Exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats increased confusion and nutritional backlash compared with exposure to established health recommendations for non-dietary behaviours and a no-exposure control. Exposure to contradictory information also increased confusion compared with exposure to consistent nutrition information regarding carbohydrates and dietary fats.Conclusions:Contradictory nutrition information in the news media can negatively affect consumers' attitudes, beliefs and behavioural intentions. Dietary debates that play out in the media may adversely influence both short-term dietary decisions and future efforts to communicate about unrelated nutrition issues.

AB - Objective:To test the effect of news media exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats on levels of confusion, nutritional backlash and dietary intentions.Design:We conducted an online survey experiment between 11 and 28 February 2018, randomizing participants to one of six experimental conditions. Two 'contradictory information' conditions asked participants to read one news article on the risks of a low-carbohydrate diet and one article on the risks of a low-fat diet. Two 'convergent information' conditions asked participants to read two articles with similar information on the risks of one of these two diets. A fifth 'established health recommendations' control condition asked participants to read two articles on the harms of smoking and sun exposure. A sixth 'no information' condition served as a second control group. We used general linear models to test hypotheses on the effects of exposure on confusion, nutritional backlash and dietary intentions.Setting:USA.Participants:Adults (n 901) registered with Amazon's Mechanical Turk (M-Turk).Results:Exposure to contradictory information about carbohydrates and dietary fats increased confusion and nutritional backlash compared with exposure to established health recommendations for non-dietary behaviours and a no-exposure control. Exposure to contradictory information also increased confusion compared with exposure to consistent nutrition information regarding carbohydrates and dietary fats.Conclusions:Contradictory nutrition information in the news media can negatively affect consumers' attitudes, beliefs and behavioural intentions. Dietary debates that play out in the media may adversely influence both short-term dietary decisions and future efforts to communicate about unrelated nutrition issues.

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