Now more than ever, we know that food impacts health and consumers want to put this advice into practice. But we need to remember that it is not one component or one food that reduces the risk of disease or makes a person lose or gain weight. It's the totality of the diet -- balanced food choices and portion sizes combined with physical activity -- that has the greatest benefit to health.

With so much attention focused on the health risks associated with overweight/obesity and advice from many health professionals focused on helping consumers achieve a better balance between energy consumption and expenditure, it will be interesting to see how consumer awareness and understanding of calorie information change over time.

Our research suggests that consumers, for all the publicity concerning carbohydrates and health, are still confused about weight management and how to include carbohydrates in a healthful diet. Fads and quick fixes, though attractive, are not effective tools for getting to a healthful diet.