The relationship between food label use and dietary intake in adults: A systematic review

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Poor diet, resulting from high intake of ultra-processed packaged foods, is increasingly recognised as a key contributing factor to ill health. Food labels provide information on the nutritional content of packaged foods to consumers, which may influence consumption of nutrients such as energy, fat, saturated fat, trans-fats, sodium and added sugars. This review aims to summarise the current evidence for the association between use of food labels and dietary intake. The systematic search was conducted in August 2017 using six databases, with 6325 results. Twenty-six studies were included, including cross-sectional studies (n = 20), a cohort study (n = 1) and randomised controlled trials (n = 5). Studies were assessed using the American Dietetic Association Quality Criteria Checklist. Results were inconsistent in reporting a relationship between diet and food label use but indicated that reading the nutrition facts label is associated with healthier diets, measured by food frequency questionnaires and 24 h recalls. However, there is insufficient research on the association between dietary consumption and use of ingredients lists, serving size information and front-of-pack labels. Using health-related claims may be associated with poor diets, however evidence is inconclusive. Apart from health-related claims, using food labels is associated with healthier diets and should continue to be promoted through policies and education programs. Further research in this area is warranted to provide additional information on the impact of ingredients lists, serving sizes, front-of-pack labels and health-related claims on dietary intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Diet
  • Food label
  • Front of pack labels
  • Ingredients list
  • Nutrition facts table
  • Serving size


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