Don’t Be Fooled By Misleading Label Claims
By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES
The big food manufacturers are at it again. However, now they are becoming smarter and trickier at undermining your weight loss results. There are things that as a consumer you can do to protect your family and yourself. Let me explain…
The Labels Food manufacturers have come up with clever ways to trick you into buying healthier foods. From low-fat, trans-fat free, and other misleading labels, you may be getting more than you bargained for on your weekly trip to the grocery stores. However, here are five of the Top Misleading Labels:
This is a label that many companies use to their advantage. Generally speaking, when you think of “light,” you may think that it has less calories and fat. However, some companies use the term “light” in reference to the flavor of the product, which means there are the same amount of calories in a “light” brand as you would find in the regular product. In order for a brand to be considered “light” in terms of fat, the product needs to contain 50%, or less, fat and calories compared to the original brand. This is one of the reasons why reading the food label is extremely important. If you are looking for a lighter version of the original, you may not be getting it. You may just be getting a less flavorful product, with a large portion of fat and calories.
Just because a product says organic on it, does not mean that it is healthier for you. Organic is a term that is used when 95% or more of the ingredients were grown without pesticides or synthetic forms of fertilizer. However, remember that the term organic only refers to the above statement, which does not refer to calories, fat, and sugar. In fact, there are many products labeled “organic” that contain high amounts of fat, sugar, and calories, which could make them an unhealthy food option.
3. Two percent milk
Normally, you would look at 2% milk and think – HEALTHY. 2% milk does contain less fat, but when you find out the amount of fat in whole milk you may be surprised. The fat content in whole milk falls between 3.25% and 4% fat. In comparison, 2% milk contains just that – 2% fat. Yes it may be lower in fat, but the best options to choose would be 1% or skim milk, due to their respective fat content.
4. Gluten Free
Gluten, which is a protein found in foods that are processed from wheat or other related grain products, has gained popularity over the years. Considered one of the biggest buzz words in the nutrition industry, the demand for gluten-free products is increasing, with more and more products entering into the market. Gluten-free products are great for people who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, but may not be so much for people without these sensitivities. Why? Gluten-free products are free of gluten, which could mean there is less fiber available for your health. Also, some gluten-free products (not all), contain high amounts of fats, which could lead to weight gain, altered cholesterol levels, and other health issues.
5. Serving size
This could be the trickiest labeling of them all. In order to monitor the fat, calories, sugars, and other nutrients, you need to put a serving size on the label. This means that for each serving size you have, you get the listed amount of calories, fats, protein, carbohydrates, and sugars. However, some food companies make the serving size so small, that it could be almost impossible to get the nutrition posted on the label. For instance, if you look at the label for ice cream, you would see that the serving size could be half a cup to a cup for the serving. Most people do not limit themselves to half a cup serving of ice cream, so in order to accurately judge your calorie intake, you may need to double, or triple the calories for your appropriate serving.
Don’t Be Fooled – Anymore! As a smart consumer, you have the power to determine which products and foods you bring into the house. By reading the labels and understanding what is in front of you, you will improve your weight loss results. Plus, you will be bringing in healthier food options for you and your family to enjoy.