Can you trust the label when you are trying to eat healthy?
- “Lite” or “light” may refer to nothing more than the color of the product.
- “This has 50% less fat” or “lower fat” - when you read the fine print, you’ll find it’s often less fat than a similar product rather than the standard version of the same product.
- “2% milk” might sound good, but it is pretty close to full fat.
- “Sugar-free” - the product can still containhalf a gram or less of sugar per serving and be classified as sugar-free.
Sugar comes in many different forms, simple and complex, but companies are only required to list the amount of white sugar in their poducts. For this reason you may find many hidden sugars in processed foods. Examples of hidden sugars are high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, cane sugar or any ingredient ending in -ose.
5 “Fat-free” - similary, this actually means half gram or less of fat per serving. These products may also be packed with sugar.
If your cart is full of “sugar-free and “fat-free” products you are probably getting lots of unwanted sugar from the fat-free and the fat from the sugar-free.
6. “Whole-grain” simply means that the product started out as a whole grain. Once it’s processed, all the nutrition and fiber is removed – unless it says 100% whole grain.
7. “Multi-grain” just means it has more than one grain – but not necessarily enough of any one grain to be of any particular benefit.
8. Manufacturers may give statements like “whole wheat is good for your heart” - even though there is no whole wheat in there product, this is known as a structure-function claim. The statement refers to the benefits of a certain nutrient not the product.
The front of the label is designed by the company’s marketing department to sell you their product. It is not legal for a company to mislead you but they often do.
9. “Natural” the most over used and abused word in food advertisement. There is no law or regulation on the use of the word “natural” on food labels.
Have you come across any outrageous food label claims? Let me know in the comments.
The label states “Made With Real Fruit or Contains Real Fruit Juice”; any food making that claim must be healthy or at least that is what the company selling this processed food would like you to think.
This is a classic example of a label loop-hope; there is no law that requires how much fruit has to be included before a company can make this claim. Translation, if there is so much as one grape or one drop of juice it is legal to claim that this food is made with real fruit or fruit juice. If the first or second ingredient is high frutose corn syrup and/or sugar chances are there is not enough fruit to be of any benefit.
Source: The information provided is from an article written by Tanya Jolliffe; she holds a B.S. in Dietetics and has over 15 years of nutrition counseling and education experience.
Fiber seems to be in just about every food in your supermarket - even in foods such as ice creams, yogurts and drinks that have never been good sources of fiber in the past. This means if a food is not a good source of fiber it has to be added.
Not all fiber is created equal; It is important to have both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet. Quote from CSPI “The kind of fiber that’s linked to a lower risk of heart disease isn’t the kind that lowers cholesterol”. When your diet is from fruits, vegetables and grains you are consuming both insoluble and soluble fibers, you do not need to put a lot of thought into the type of fiber you are eating.
Researchers are not sure if the fiber alone prevents disease or if it the phytoestrogens, antioxidants, lignans,vitamins and minerals the fiber contains.
When you purchase a product that claims to be high in fiber make sure that whole wheat or grains are first or second in the list of ingredients. Companies often use ingredients such as inulin (chicory root) that has not been proven to be a good source of fiber or well absorbed by your body.
Source: Center For Science In The Public Interest.
Cheesecake, one of my favorite things in life, add some chocolate to the cheesecake and life just does not get any better than that. Sara Lee now has on the market for your convenience ”Sara Lee Bites”; wonderful little morsels of chocolate or strawberry cheesecake. Keep these in your freezer and when you need a little taste of sweet just pop one in your mouth.
If you are like me one bite leads to another until before you know it the box is empty. Should you have some “Sara Lee Bites” in your freezer make sure to keep track of the bites you consume.
Roughly 20 bites is equal to 1/2 cup (a serving of ice cream) 440 calories
and 14 grams of saturated fat.
As a nutrition fact label coach, I counsel my clients with diabetes, heart disease, and weight control issues to interpret and apply the nutritional data on commercially produced foods. Buying processed foods is like signing a legal document, read the fine print or your health will be in serious trouble. In the “Food Industry’s Gredd” Lois proves my point with respect to Omega-3 food labeled products. This book isn’t overly long yet the omega-3 information will result in many long term health benefits for consumers. A must read for anyone confused by omega-3 and omega-6 labels today. I highly recommend this book.
Lois is giving the first 20 purchers a 30 minute free consultation to answer any questions you might have about the omegas, inflamation, and research in the book. To get a free consultation just send your receipt to email@example.com
I have four dogs, so it is just as important to me to know what is in the food they consume as it is to know what is in the food I consume. Natural is fast becoming a favorite word in advertising dog food and as with human food the word natural is over used and very misleading.
When shopping yesterday I spotted All Natural Muti Mutt Spots, a chocolate chip cookie for your dog boasting this treat does not contain cholesterol. About the second ingredient listed is partially hydrogenated vegetable oil; a chemically produced ingredient that creates cholesterol once it is consumed.
This is not false advertising, the product does not contain cholesterol, but your dog may after eating treats containing this type of fat.
It is assumed that fruit juice has to be a healthier choice than soda, after all it comes from fruit, but is it? I am sure that there are a few more nutrients in juice than soda but the truth is not enough to be considered a health drink. The many health claims of fiber, added multivitamins and glucosamine are nothing more than that, just health claims.
Juice is fruit sugar and the recommendation is that your children should consume no more than a 12 oz. glass of juice in a day.
For real health benefits buy the fruit leave the juice on the shelf.
Nature Made now has a supplement on the market that promises to meet the nutritional needs of those taking common prescription medications; it is true, taking medications can lower your blood levels of some nutrients. Rx Essentials does contain some of the nutrients lost when you are taking a prescrition medication so in theory it appears to be a great product; but is it?
Quote from Enviromental Nutrtion:
“In theory, Rx Essentials seem like a good idea, but there doesn’t appear to be solid rationale for nutrient levels. Some (vitamin B12) are exceptionally high while others (calcium) are exceptionally low. Moreover the product hasn’t been adequately tested for efficacy.”
- It is wise to first check with your physician before combining any over-the-counter product and prescription.
- Take stock of any supplement you may already be taking; it is easy to overdose even with supplements.
Titanium Dioxide: Titanium dioxide occurrences in nature are never pure; it is found with contaminant metals such as iron.
Titanium Dioxide is used as a white food coloring in commercially processed foods as well as glass, plastic, paints, paper, inks, toothpaste, the list is long.
If you have hypertension and drink bottled water you may want to check the sodium content. Drinking bottled water may raise your blood pressure.