The many different ways food companies lie to get our business should never cease to amaze us. As much as we would like to believe the false health claims made on food labels, in many cases, it’s pure fiction.  And let’s face it; they just want to sell their products.  Unfortunately, it’s no easy task in determining whether certain food products are healthy or absolute junk.   When in doubt, don’t buy it.  Stick with unprocessed, whole foods for optimal health!

 

Here are some of the creatively misleading claims made everyday on food product labels:

All-natural” – This wording is completely meaningless and has yet to be defined by the FDA.  The term is confusing and misleads shoppers.

Made with real fruit”– Typically, this refers to a highly processed fruit puree or fruit juice.  In reality, it’s basically concentrated sugar devoid of nutrients.

Made with whole grain” – Although it may be true that these products contain some undesignated amount of whole grain, the truth is they usually are made mostly from white flour and contain sugar.

Sugar-free” – When a product states it’s sugar-free, it contains some type of artificial sweetener, such as aspartame (also known as NutraSweet and Equal), and should be avoided at all costs.  There are countless studies that have shown unequivocally that artificial sweeteners have been linked to disease states such as obesity, insulin-resistance, heart problems, and cancer – just to name a few.

Low-fat”, “reduced fat”, “fat-free” –  We have to once and for all put to the rest the erroneous assumption that fats (healthy fats, that is) are bad for you or conversely that “low-fat” means a product will promote health and/or will help you lose weight.  It’s simply not true.  In addition, these products contain more sugar to make them taste good and are highly processed.

No cholesterol” – These claims are typically made on products that, by nature, would not contain cholesterol anyway (like crackers, pasta, etc.).  In addition, companies can legally state a product is “cholesterol-free” as long as it contains fewer than 2 mg of cholesterol.

Og Trans fat” – Many products that claim to be “trans fat free” on the label actually have trans fats in their ingredients.  It’s a labeling loophole that allows companies to label a product as zero grams of trans fats, but in reality, it means there is less than 0.5 grams PER SERVING.  We should avoid trans fats like the plague as it’s no secret they can cause a myriad of health problems from coronary heart disease to cancer.  Trans fats can be disguised on labels as the following ingredients:

  • Hydrogenated Oils
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils
  • Shortening
  • DATEM
  • Mono and di-glycerides  Mono and 

“Good source of protein” – One must check out the source of the protein on such labels.  It’s usually a substandard form of soy such as soy protein isolates and should be avoided.  In addition, these products may also be highly processed and contain sugar.

Gluten-free” – Unfortunately, there are many products out there that may be gluten-free, but that term is not synonymous with healthy.  Of course, if you’re a celiac, have a gluten sensitivity, or simply want to avoid gluten for other reasons, a gluten-free label is helpful.  However, there are plenty of healthy, gluten-free products available out there, too.

 

Sources:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/deenashanker/health-claims-to-ignore-at-the-supermarket#.kjov1KK5jw

Photo:

http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/snack-food-spies-infiltrate-grocery-stores-2015.html