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The Top 5 Fallacies Found on Food Labels

Food manufacturers are constantly coming up with clever ways to trick us into buying ‘healthier’ foods. How does the consumer stay protected against such information? Let’s discuss some of the top misleading labels seen each time we go to the grocery store.

  1. Light

We tend to think the term “light” refers to fewer calories and fat. However, some companies use this word to reference the flavor of the product, meaning it has the same calorie content as the regular product. The brand must contain 50% or less fat and total calories compared to the original to be considered what we hope it means. Therefore, MAKE SURE to read the food label closely to avoid these larger portions.

  1. Organic

The term organic is used when 95% or more of the ingredients are grown without pesticides or other forms of synthetic fertilizers. However, this has nothing to do with the total fat and sugar content that may be present. Many products labeled “organic” have high amounts of fat and sugar and overall calories, so keep a close eye on this one.

  1. Gluten-Free

Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from wheat and other grain-related products. Gluten-free products have gained popularity over the years as more and more products enter the market. These are great options for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. However, those without these insensitivities may be getting less overall fiber in their diets, not to mention some (not all) gluten-free products contain high amounts of fat, leading to weight gain.

  1. 2% Milk

This is a tricky one. Yes, 2% milk does contain less fat. However, did you know the total fat content in whole milk only falls between 3.25% and 4% fat! This ends up being a very small margin. If you’re truly looking for less overall fat content, go with 1% or skim milk.

  1. Serving Size

This provides us a way to monitor the total calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, and sugars for a given serving size on a food label. However, some serving sizes are so small it appears next to impossible to limit yourself to that given amount. Ice cream and pasta come to mind as examples as they tend to only be a half cup to a cup per serving. You may need to double or triple that number of calories to accurately gauge what you really consumed…beware.

 

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