Don't Be Fooled By Food Product Packaging
As a fairly recent FDA survey recently noted, a growing number of people are becoming skeptical of food label claims such as "low fat", "high fiber" and "cholesterol free". Even so, most consumers (nearly 60% of people according to one survey) find it very difficult to understand exactly what nutrition labels mean. This is no accident, as many food companies use deceptive marketing techniques to make unhealthy foods look healthy and nutritious. Following are some of the most common ways in which people are fooled by food product packaging:
- All Natural - The FDA does not define what constitutes "natural". This means that foods which contain large quantities of sodium and/or high fructose corn syrup can legally be labeled as being "all natural". Always read the ingredient list before purchasing so-called natural products to ensure that they are in fact good for you.
- Enriched Wheat Flour - Enriched wheat flour is simply refined white flour with some nutrients added. This type of flour still does not contain the bran and germ that would make flour a healthy food. Only products that have been labeled 100% whole wheat flour are good for you and even these should be eaten in moderation.
- Organic - Organic foods need only be 70% organic in order to meet FDA labeling standards. This means that the other 30% of ingredients may include fat, sugar and/or chemicals. What is more, research indicates that organic foods may not be much healthier than their non-organic counterparts.
- No Sugar Added - Even products that supposedly do not contain sugar may still contain sweeteners that are bad for you. These include brown rice syrup, sugar alcohols and/or maltodexterin. What is more, such foods may also have a high number of carbohydrates, which automatically raise blood sugar levels.
Reading the food package label is never enough. It is important to also read the ingredient list and nutrition label to determine what the food in question contains. Doing so will enable you to avoid unhealthy food items and instead choose the foods that will actually provide the nutrition you and your family needs.
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