How Food Labels Lie to Us

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Eating healthy is the doctor’s orders.  So you stock up on bottled juices, cereals, milk, and low salt crackers.  You think that you are doing right because the food labels scream that these are fortified with vitamins and minerals and the cereals are whole grains.  But how sure are you that these food labels aren’t lying through their glues?

Beware of Food Labels

If you have been buying the same old products of your youth, the familiar cereals, muffins, and juices, the stuff must be good though these are loaded with bad fat, salt and sugar.  At least your mom knew what she was buying for your breakfast.  These days, supermarket shelves are lined with new products convincing you that these are healthier alternatives.

If you know what’s behind those labels, you might reach out for the breakfast cereals of your childhood.  Here’s why.  These days, in the grim competition for the largest market share, food products are packaged to catch your eye and the food label disguises fact with fictional facts.  What is supposed to be honest-to-goodness whole grains is merely fiction.

What is inside the package is unbleached flour, tons of it while whole wheat flour is just an addition, not the primary ingredient of the product.  If you notice that whole grains are not on the top of the list, then better look elsewhere.  If the product has the look of whole grains, don’t be deceived.  Some smart manufacturers use caramel to ‘brown’ the cereals or the muffin.

The salt and sugar factor are issues with false food labeling.  Although the labels say its low salt or salt-free, it still contains salt and has more sugar.  Food manufacturers have also jazzed up their junk foods claiming that these are high in fiber.  Don’t look now but the best source for fiber is still vegetables and fruits.

Marketing Bombs

This circus had been going on for years and consumers have been conned for years.  The FDA should lock up these companies making spurious claims.  But how do you detect the lies in food labels?  Watch out for claims such “can lower cholesterol,” “sugar-free,” “fat-free,” “high fiber juice,” etc.  If the claims say it can, this is only an assumption not a statement of fact.  It should have said it may or may not reduce cholesterol.  This would be the truth and consumers can make their informed choice.

Sugar free claims should be investigated and pastries or ice-cream that declares sugar-free content should be greeted with raised eyebrows.  If you want sugar free drinks, go for water, it is 100% sugar and fat free.  If you are avoiding sugar because you are watching your weight, take a second look at the label.  Ten out of ten the product will contain fat.

One more thing, if the product says it 60% fruit, then what would be the 40% about?  It would salt, sugar, additives, preservatives and water.  So check the label and shop smart for healthy foods and avoid the products that sell a lot of fantasy in their labels.

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