There are so many misleading call outs on food these days, you almost have to be a detective to know if you should believe what they say on the package or the commercial is actually true,
Well, let me clarify some things for you. Things you may be shocked by. If there is one thing I have taught my children its to not lie and mislead others. Someone needs to teach food companies the same morals. So the next best thing is for someone else to be out there that is willing to explain what they are saying to you. I am that girl.
Lets start with what they say on the front of the package. Things to catch your attention.
- Light. Light products are processed to reduce either calories or fat. Some products are simply watered down. Check carefully to see if anything has been added instead — like sugar.
- Multigrain. This sounds very healthy but only means that a product contains more than one type of grain. These are most likely refined grains — unless the product is marked as whole grain.
- Natural. This does not necessarily mean that the product resembles anything natural. It simply indicates that at one point the manufacturer worked with a natural source like apples or rice. In order to make that claim.
- Organic. This label says very little about whether a product is healthy. For example, organic sugar is still sugar.
- No added sugar. Or Sugar-free…. Some products are naturally high in sugar. The fact that they don’t have added sugar doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Unhealthy sugar substitutes may also have been added.
- Low-calorie. Low-calorie products have to have one-third fewer calories than the brand’s original product. Yet, one brand’s low-calorie version may have similar calories as another brand’s original. Be sure to compare packages.
- Low-fat. This label usually means that the fat has been reduced at the cost of adding more sugar. Be very careful and read the ingredients list.
- Low-carb. Recently, low-carb diets have been linked to improved health. Still, processed foods that are labeled low-carb are usually still processed junk foods, similar to processed low-fat foods.
- Made with whole grains. The product may contain very little whole grains. Check the ingredients list — if whole grains aren’t in the first three ingredients, the amount is negligible.
- Fortified or enriched. This means that some nutrients have been added to the product. For example, vitamin D is often added to milk. Yet, just because something is fortified doesn’t always make it healthy.
- Gluten-free. Gluten-free doesn’t mean healthy. The product simply doesn’t contain wheat, spelt, rye, or barley. Many gluten-free foods are highly processed and loaded with unhealthy fats and sugar.
- Fruit-flavored. Many processed foods have a name that refers to a natural flavor, such as strawberry yogurt. However, the product may not contain any fruit — only chemicals designed to taste like fruit.
- Zero trans fat. This phrase means “less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.” Thus, if serving sizes are misleadingly small, the product consumer may accidentally consume a lot of sugar,
- “Non-GMO” Just because a food is certified non-GMO doesn’t mean it is organic. Even conventionally-raised crops such as corn, soy, and canola can be certified non-GMO if they are grown without genetically engineered seeds. There are several snack chips on the market right now which use non-GMO ingredients grown with chemical pesticides.
- “High-Fiber” means processed. high-fiber products are often boosted with doses of processed forms of fiber. Added “functional” fibers like chicory root fiber, polydextrose, and oat fiber don’t necessarily have the same impact as naturally occurring fiber in foods and may cause bloating and gas.
What is the ultimate food choice?
Commercially-speaking, food should have to be certified organic, certified non-GMO, or locally grown, This sounds like a dream. Because Labels may or may not mean much, therefore, knowing your farmer and where your food comes from is a must.
Reading your labels have become a must in today’s world. So do your research or Grow your own,
- Some other tricks you should be aware of.
Read the fine print.
many manufacturers use all CAPITAL LETTERS that studies show are more difficult to read than [a combination of] upper and lower case letters… some companies print the list in various colors of ink against poorly-contrasting backgrounds or insert the ingredient list in a fold or other area where it will not be visible unless the consumer makes an extra effort to reveal the list.”
Another trick involves hiding dangerous ingredients behind innocent-sounding names that fool consumers into thinking they’re safe. The highly carcinogenic ingredient sodium nitrite, for example, sounds perfectly innocent, but it is well documented to cause brain tumors, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and many other cancers (just search Google Scholar for sodium nitrite to see a long list of supporting research,
If you have enjoyed this article please leave me a comment and continue to read another article I have written on How to decipher a nutrition label.