Don't Be Fooled by Deceptive Food Claims


Deceptive Food Packages

The Food and Drug Administration (also known as the FDA) is a government agency that regulates almost every aspect of the production of food and medications in the United States. It also controls what "claims" can be made by each particular product. With that in mind, it is important to know how food packages and even the FDA food label can be misleading to the average consumer as discussed below:

Calorie Counts: According to the FDA, Food labels have a margin of error of up to 20 percent when it comes to the accuracy of each serving's calorie count. Foods that are listed as having 100 calories can end up having as many as 120. This can add up over the course of a day causing unexpected weight gain, if your diet calls for counting calories.

Healthy: Foods that are labeled as "healthy" must be in their most natural state with limited additives and preservatives. Based on accepted dietary guidelines, a healthy food cannot contain excessive amounts of fats, sodium or cholesterol. In addition to the limits placed on certain types of unhealthy ingredients, a healthy food must contain a specific amount of certain vitamins and minerals to be considered beneficial.

Natural: If a food is said to be "natural" it means that occurs naturally in nature. For a food to carry the word "natural" on the label, it must not contain anything that is synthetic or artificial. The misleading fact is that even though a natural food cannot contain anything fake, pesticides and other chemicals are acceptable. This also may include large amounts of high fructose corn syrup and genetically modified organisms. Many "natural" foods undergo massive amounts of processing before they reach the consumer.

Serving Sizes: Serving sizes are also misleading. Many packages are labeled to make people believe they contain a single serving. The package actually contains two or three servings and doubles or triples the number of calories, fats and sugar as well as other harmful chemicals.

Unfortunately, food package claims (including the FDA's Nutrients Facts Label) can be extremely confusing and are often used to mislead the public into believing a food or drug is beneficial when in actuality, it is not.

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