This is the age of marketing and given the number of players in operation in the food industry, the fight for shelf space in malls and in our houses for their products have resulted in a strange kind of fight. The victims ultimately are innocent consumers who aren’t informed enough to make the right choices for themselves and their salary. Here are some examples which will get you thinking about your food choices.
What does this word mean, exactly? It has no definition nor is it regulated by most nations’ food regulatory bodies, and it doesn’t pertain to food’s nutritional content, ingredients, safety, or health effects.
The label must explain what makes the product natural (such as “no added coloring”), which essentially relegates it to buzzword status.
In fact, high fructose corn syrup is considered “natural” despite being a chemical byproduct.
‘Zero Trans Fats’ does not mean zero:
Trans fats can take advantage of a common food label loophole: if food has 0.5 grams or less of a nutrient, it can be listed as zero grams on the nutrition facts label.
If “partially hydrogenated” appears on a food label, even if it’s under 0.5 grams, the serving sizes can add up and become a pretty substantial amount of trans fat.
‘Made with Real Fruit’ or ‘Contains Real Fruit Juice’ has no minimum amount:
There is no law that requires a minimum amount of real fruit or fruit juice for a product to make this claim. In essence, one drop of orange juice in a drink is enough to satisfy the quota.
One good way to check how much real fruit is used in a drink is to check the ingredients. If high fructose corn syrup is high the list, chances are the amount of actual fruit is low.
Just like “real fruit,” whole grain food can attain the label simply by having just a pinch of whole grain thrown back into the refined grain mix.
There are many variations on the “grain” idea, but only “100 percent whole grain” can be considered a healthy choice. Everything else can slip by with just scant amounts of the good stuff.
‘Fat Free/Low Fat’ is sometimes attributed to products that are naturally free anyway:
Fat free gives the impression of being a healthy option, but that’s not always the case. Once again, the number of calories or grams of fat per serving may be small, but it depends on how many servings in the carton/box/bottle.
Also, some products may try to trick you with a fat-free label. For example, “fat free” orange juice is redundant — oranges are fat free to begin with.
With many food products, “light” means that there is 50 percent less fat or sodium, or a third of the calories. Not so with olive oil: light simply refers to the color of the oil, which sounds healthier but just means your oil will be more translucent. And with an oft-used product like olive oil, that difference is huge.