9 Food Label Lies
Reading food labels isn’t as easy as you think. Here’s how to decipher nutrition labels so you can separate fact from marketing.
It’s a fact of the grocery store that the most healthy food often has the least marketing muscle behind it. The best source of fiber and vitamins are fresh vegetables and fruit, and yet it’s the processed, packaged junk food fortified with vitamin and fiber powder that screams for attention. The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently published a comprehensive report on the subject, a persuasive indictment delicately called “Food Labeling Chaos.”
Dr. Stegall’s comments: Reading nutrition labels is a necessary practice these days. Sadly, the quality of our food has declined significantly over the past few decades. Generally speaking, the fewer ingredients, the better. Avoid foods which contain ingredients you have never heard of or can’t pronounce. It is important to emphasize organic, non-genetically modified (non-GMO) because this avoids many concerning ingredients which I believe are harmful.
11 Food Label Lies – Don’t spend extra money buying into marketing hype and misinformation.
Truth in Labeling? Look for food claims and labels you can trust.
When you spend your hard-earned money on a food claiming to be more ethical or healthier than its competitors, you feel duped when you find out that claim is essentially meaningless. Yet, it happens a lot, thanks to the lack of regulations around feel-good claims like “natural” and “free-range.” And those are just two of the biggest offenders. These 11 meaningless claims are all too common on food packages, so consider yourself forewarned–don’t buy foods with these words on the box!
Dr. Stegall’s comments: This is a very important article. Learning about the nuances of food labeling is essential to knowing what you are putting inside your body. One more not mentioned here is high fructose corn syrup. It is now approved to be called a “natural sweetener.” This is extremely misleading, as it is harmful to the body regardless of whether it is “natural” or not. Avoid it at all costs!
Are You Falling for These 10 Food Label Lies?
Sneaky ways manufacturers cash in on your healthy intentions
Know it: A mad-scientist project gone wrong, trans fats are created in a lab by partially hydrogenating healthier oils. This process destroys the many good benefits of the original fats. What’s worse, consuming trans fats ups your risk for heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Most nutritionists recommend avoiding them altogether, which doesn’t sound so hard except current labeling guidelines allow manufacturers to round anything less than 0.5g/serving down to zero. Eat more than a few servings, and you’ve consumed a significant amount of the Frankenfood.
Avoid it: Anything that says “partially hydrogenated oil,” “hydrogenated vegetable oil,” or “shortening” on the ingredients list contains trans fats, no matter what the label says.
Dr. Stegall’s comments: Reading the articles in this blog post should make you angry! We live in an era when food labeling is very misleading and, at times, contains outright lies. Much of this propaganda is due to several large and powerful corporations, which not only produce much of the food available today, but also heavily influence agricultural politics. For example, attempts to require labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in products was recently rejected. This allows companies to genetically alter food from its naturally occurring state and not tell you about it. This is why buying organic, minimally processed food is more essential today than ever.