Know The Meaning of Food Labels

Know The Meaning of Food Labels

misleading-labelsOk, so most of us have started actually reading the labels on our food, do you know what some of the labels mean? Is the bread you are eating really healthy? Is multi grain better the whole grain? How do you know what is healthy and what is not. Is sugar free really free from sugar?

Lets take a few of those “healthy” sounding labels and tell the real truth about them.

First, let’s look at “All Natural”  Sounds nice and healthy, right? Well, maybe not. The term all natural merely means that there is nothing artificial like colors or additives. So the “All Natural” label does not necessarily mean “healthy.” “Some natural products will have high fructose corn syrup and companies will argue that since it comes from corn, it’s healthy,” says Stephan Gardner, director of litigation at the Center of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “Well, that isn’t true.”

What about “multigrain” or “made with whole grain.”  More grain means more healthful, right? NO! Look instead for “whole grain” or “100% whole grain.” Multigrain could just be a mixture of processed grains. Overly processing grains takes away from their nutritional value.

What about “no sugar added?” While these foods may not have additional sugar added, they do contain natural sugars or even still they may contain added ingredients like maltodextrin, a carbohydrate.

Is “sugar free” really sugar free? Well maybe, but maybe not. Sugar-free products have less than 0.5 grams of sugars per serving, but they still contain calories and carbohydrates from other sources.  All forms of sugars.

What does “zero trans fats” indicate? Look at the label if you see hydrogenated oils and shortening,  trans fats are still present. Just a couple of servings can be unhealthy.

Oh and then there is “fat free. ” “Just because it says it’s fat-free, doesn’t mean you get a free ride,” says Taub-Dix. “Packages could say it’s fat free, but be loaded with sugar, and sugar-free products could be loaded with fat.”

What about “light” Light more likely refers to the taste or color, not the calorie count.

Oh and then we have “organic” Which may be on the good news side, or not. If a product has a USDA label that says organic, 95% or more of the ingredients must have been grown or processed without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides (among other standards).  A label that says made with organic ingredients must have a minimum of 70% all ingredients that meet the standard.


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