A survey of over 1,000 adults found that while 80 percent of Americans read food labels at the grocery store to check for things like calories, fat content and sugar, 44 percent will still buy the item, no matter how bad the label looks.

The AP-Ipsos poll, conducted May 30 to June 1, found some interesting insights that may shed some light on why two-thirds of Americans are overweight.

* 65 percent of women checked labels, compared to 51 percent of men.

* Women were more likely than men, 82 percent versus 64 percent, respectively, to
view nutrition content as important.

* 76 percent of married men checked labels, compared to 65 percent of unmarried men.

Further, while 39 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 said they look at calories on food labels, 60 percent of this age group was more likely to buy unhealthy foods -- even after checking the label.

While experts believe that most people do read labels, they stress that it's not just for weight loss purposes. People with diabetes check labels to steer clear of sugars, those with high blood pressure check for salt and others look just out of curiosity.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This is a really interesting and somewhat surprising finding. However, I am beginning to develop a deeper appreciation of the amazing level of denial that exists in the population.

I was powerfully reminded of this as I just finished celebrating my birthday with my family. My only, and younger, brother had his wife there and they admitted to regularly drinking diet Coke.

I offered to give them a copy of the amazing DVD, Sweet Misery, which is one of the most powerful and clear documentaries one could ever view on the clear evidence explaining why you will never want to consume any aspartame the rest of your life. My sister-in-law refused and said she just didn't want to know.

Wow, that was an enlightening experience.

Fortunately, my brother-in-law was sitting across the table from her, and I gave him an audio tape about 10 years ago in which he threw his can of soda out the car window after he listened to it and never had a drink since. So life seems to have a way of balancing things out.

The problem clearly is two-fold. One is to inform people so that they are aware there is a problem in the first place, but the second is to empower them to act on that information.

Information on most labels will give you a running start and the opportunity to make some important changes, but there still are many problems with deceptive labeling. The food industry with their powerful lobbyists were able to manipulate the laws to only give you partial truths in many areas.

For instance, earlier this year trans fat labeling became required in the United States and now there are a number of products that proudly display "no trans fat" on their label. Yet when you read the label more carefully you will find that they have partially hydrogenated oil, which is a synonym for trans fat.

My patients would ask me, how can this be?

Well, very simply -- it is the result of manipulated food laws. They make the servings ridiculously small, much smaller than the average person would consume. As long as the trans fat is lower than 500 mg per serving they can carry the claim "zero trans fat."

But once one understands these distortions it is relatively easy to make wise choices.

Clearly the more important issue to address is the half of the people who are reading the label and doing absolutely nothing in response to what they read.

If you find this is your pattern there is a strong likelihood you are battling emotional challenges that have not yet been resolved, and they are contributing to your making unhealthy choices.

In this case it would be wise to consider consulting with an energy psychology professional as these professionals typically provide very rapid improvement. Many of the sessions provide as much benefit as seeing a conventional psychologist for months or even years.