I was reading this article the other day and it really got me thinking. The article discusses a study in which a nutritionist was available in the store for a 10 minute in-store counseling sessions with a nutrition educator to understand labels better. It was found that those who had received the counseling had carts with a greater number of fruits and veggies, particularly fruit, green and yellow vegetables.
I think that many people have the intention of eating well, but often times are unsure of what a healthy diet really consist of and the labeling used on a lot of food packaging make it even more confusing to eat healthy. During a trip to the supermarket we are bombarded with claims and labels that elude to items being healthier than they often are (often obscuring what’s really in the foods). A few examples of these misleading food labels are as follows:
- “All Natural” – FDA and USDA have very lenient rules on these claims (although they are working to make them more strict). It may claim “all natural” but still be loaded with high fructose corn syrup, additives, and other not so natural products. Many juices claim natural fruit flavors, but that’s nothing more than concentrated fruit extracts that have little to no nutrition benefit.
- “0 grams of trans fat” – While it’s great there is no trans fat, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain other harmful things such as high levels of saturated fats, high sodium, total fat and so on.
- “Whole grains” – Being made with whole grains is great, but don’t forget to check the sugar content too. Lots of cereals and breads are made with whole grains, however are loaded with sugars and sodium (breads are guilty of having high sodium levels so keep an eye out).
- “Fat free” – A lot of foods with high sugar contents will label it as fat free to elude to being healthier than they are. While it’s great that it’s fat free, the sugar content is usually much higher than is recommended and that can lead to adverse health effects.