26 Jan 2012
I’ve always thought that if fresh produce would put labels containing nutritional claims right on the produce, they would have a far better shot at competing with packaged foods that do this shamelessly (and often misleadingly). We are powerless in the presence of a provocative label that appeals to our desires and beliefs about healthy eating. But the package claims are there to improve product sales, not improve your health. Knowing a few of the more popular “tricks” will permanently save you time at the store and have you speaking label language fluently.
A few examples:
1. ”Free-range” eggs are not from chickens running free on a range; free-range simply means they are not caged. (Free-range chickens live inside, often cramped, with “access” to outside (may be no more than a slab of concrete outdoors) via a door which the chickens may not have been informed about.)
2. “Evaporated cane juice” is no healthier than white sugar. (Because it is white sugar – in liquid form.)
3. Juice that’s “Made with real fruit juice”, means that the real juice plays a supporting role.
4. Bread that “Contains whole wheat”, means that whole wheat is present in the bread but the bread is made predominantly with refined white flour. (Only “100% Whole wheat bread” is 100% whole wheat bread.)
5. ”Wheat bread” is not whole wheat bread. Refined white flour is still wheat flour.
6. “Multi-grain” does not mean the product contains “whole grains” it simply means that it contains more than one grain.
7. ”Contains x grams of Omega 3” or “Contains flax seeds”. Though this is accurate, the best way to consume flax seeds is to buy them whole and grind them. Most products contain whole seeds since they have a longer shelf life than ground, but whole seeds are not as well absorbed as ground.
8. Milk whose label reads, “No Antibiotics”, does not mean the cows were not given antibiotics. A claim of “no antibiotics” without the accompanying word “organic” usually means the cows have been given antibiotics but the milk has been tested to ensure no antibiotics residue has been detected (or is low enough to pass inspection).
9. Organic DOES mean it cannot contain GMO ingredients; but non-GMO does not mean organic.
10. ”Natural flavors” is an oxymoron. They are made in a lab, not in nature. They are extracted then recreated in high volume using chemicals. If blueberry yogurt was made with pure blueberries or blueberry juice, the ingredients would not say “natural blueberry flavor” it would say “blueberries”.
11. ”Fortified” or “Enriched” means the natural vitamins were removed during the processing, and synthetic ones added. Or they were added later to augment the nutritional value of a product. (For example folic acid in orange juice). You will often see this on white bread or on cereals where the natural vitamins and minerals of the grain were removed in the refining.
12. If a label ever reads “Blank Guaranteed!, it’s because the manufacturer knows that you have good reason to think that it’s not true.
Any others you’ve seen?
MichelleCheck out my latest posts here