06/30/2014 04:00 EDT | Updated 08/30/2014 05:59 EDT

Nutritional values signalled with traffic light code

Food labels as simple as a traffic light are on the menu at a Boston hospital that is serving as an inspiration for Canadians.
To help staff and visitors make healthy food choices, all foods in the cafeteria at Massachusetts General Hospital come with a colour-coded food label. 

Red-labelled foods such as burgers are to be avoided, foods with yellow labels are meant to be eaten sparingly and green foods are healthy choices that should be chosen most often.
Researchers at the hospital have been collecting receipts for two years, and they noted a 20 per cent drop in consumption of red-labelled foods and a 15 per cent increase in green-label choices.
Dr. Anne Thorndike, who conducted the research, said, "It creates a visceral reaction when you see it. A red, yellow or green, we all know what it means. You don't need to speak English. It's pretty much a gut reaction."
Watch: Could traffic light food labels be the solution to Canada's confusing labels?